119 CENTRAL SIGNAL BOX

119
Central Signal Box
Basel, Switzerland
Competition 1994, project 1995, realization 1998-1999

The new main Signal Tower is situated in the railroad yards at the southeast bank of the bridge, Muenchensteinerbrücke. Being as close to the street as an apartment or office building, it relates as much to the city as it does to the railroad yards. Thanks to its object-like character, the building is spatially linked to the other solitary buildings that characterize this disparate urban area.

But the new main Signal Tower is also within sight of the recently completed Signal Box 4, located in "auf dem Wolf" in a section of the railroad yards separated from the neighborhood streets of the city. The similarity of structure and the copper strips wrapped around both buildings underscore their spatial relationship. They form a pair that could later be expanded into a group.

Now completed, Signal Box 4 has been so well optimized that it has become a prototype that can be erected, like a standardized structure, in all the urban regions of Switzerland. The use of such a similar structure throughout Switzerland would dovetail with a vision of the country as one single urban landscape.

Although the design of the main Signal Tower is the same as that of Signal Box 4, it is different in appearance due to its location on a trapezoidal, almost triangular, plot of land between the railroad tracks. The ground plan evolves from bottom to top into a rectangle. The copper strips cover the steps in the façade so that it becomes difficult to read the building‘s geometrical shape. It evokes something more organic and vulnerable, like a head or a brain, rather than a piece of technical equipment.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1998

FACTS

Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Harry Gugger
Project Architect: Philipe Fürstenberger

Client:
Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (Anlagen Management)

Planning:
General Planning: ARGE, Herzog & de Meuron, Proplaning AG, Basel, Switzerland
Architect Planning: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Construction, Structural Management: Proplaning AG, Basel, Switzerland
HVAC Engineering: Silzer Energieconsulting AG, Liestal, Switzerland
Electrical Engineering: Selmoni AG, Basel, Switzerland
Plumbing Engineering: Balduin Weisser AG, Basel, Switzerland

Specialist / Consulting:
Facade Consulting: Tecton AG, Pratteln, Switzerland

Building Data:
Building Footprint: 315sqm / 3,395sqft
Building Dimensions: Length 25m / 82ft, Width 14m / 47ft, Diagonal countering 10-4m / 35-11ft
Gross Floor Area: 2,455sqm / 26,426sqft

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: Herzog & de Meuron 1992-1996. The Complete Works. Volume 3.
Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Chinese ed. Beijing, China Architecture & Building Press, 2010. Vol. No. 3.

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: Herzog & de Meuron 1989-1991. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 3. The Complete Works. Volume 3.
Edited by: Gerhard Mack. 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2005. Vol. No. 3.

Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 1981-2000. Between the Face and the Landscape. The Cunning of Cosmetics. Entre el Rostro y el Paisaje. La Astucia de la Cosmética.
2nd adv. and rev. ed. Vol. No. 60+84, Madrid, El Croquis, 2005.

Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.): Architecture and Urbanism. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2002.
Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 02.2002.

Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.
Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Herzog & de Meuron. Naturgeschichte.
Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.

Herzog & de Meuron. Histoire Naturelle.
Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind. Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 - 6 April 2003. Baden, Lars Müller, 2002.