Novacella Abbey

New Museum Entry


With the new museum entrance project, new functions are injected into old buildings, and new alliances are forged between the ancillary structures and the principal buildings of the Neustift Abbey.


The Abbey is nestled into one of the vineyard-lined basins of the Eisack Valley in South Tyrol, and at first glance, what would appear to be the most evident addition to the project—a blackened, copper clad bridge that connects to the main building on the upper level—is in fact carefully positioned to almost disappear into the ensemble of historic structures.


Part demolition, part renovation and part restoration, the project intervenes in three secondary, adjacent structures set against the backdrop of the 17th century wing of the main cloister.  The first building is gutted to transform the agrarian storehouse into the airy, double-height space of the entry atrium with an overlooking mezzanine level.  The second building on the other hand, replaces the demolished, one-story lavatorium with a sweeping stair and elevator tower that bridges over to the antique wing of the cloister.  The third and final structure is renovated to house a seminar and event space at the ground level with a newly configured outdoor courtyard, and a temporary exhibition space and choir room on the upper level.


The new museum entrance converts an old storehouse into an airy atrium whereby visitors purchase their tickets and proceed outside to begin their tour.  The museum itinerary winds up and around one of the original Abbey cloisters, passes through the double height space of the 18th century library, to then conclude the circuit by bridging back to the new addition on the upper level.  The bridge affords a foreshortened view over the rooftop of the renovated storehouse over to the centralized historic structure of Sant’Angelo for orientation, while also affording privileged views into the walled garden of the Abbey, and the vineyards beyond.


Novacella (BZ), 2020


Augustiner Chorherrenstift Neustift

Project Team

Sandy Attia, Matteo Scagnol, Laura Spezzoni

Artistic contribution

Paul Renner

Exhibition Design

Alessandro Gatti, doc s.r.l.