Herzog & de Meuron

BASEL, SWITZERLAND – Today marks the opening of Roche Bau 2 (Building 2). With its 50 floors and a height of 205m, it is the tallest building in Switzerland. Alongside Bau 1, the pair of towers have become a prominent fixture in Basel’s urban fabric. After a construction period of 5 years, Bau 2 was successfully completed in 2021, with today marking its official inauguration. As a high-rise building, Bau 2 is a workplace with views over Basel and the surrounding landscape.

“The towers have become part of the cityscape – a kind of ‘local mountain’ for the city” says Jacques Herzog. “It is not conventional architecture, but rather a sculptural topography that is visible from afar, hence we worked closely with the client to carefully design the sculptural effect of these large ‘Bau’ masses. This includes the white appearance, which expresses the changing light and weather conditions in a particularly vivid way.”

The two volumes of Bau 1 and Bau 2 have different stepped and straight sides. Bau 1 was the conceptual starting point informing the design of Bau 2 – with aspects such as the façade almost identical, adjusted to scale. Other features such as interiors were further developed in Bau 2. As a result, the pair always appear different when seen from different vantage points in the city. The façade is made entirely of glass: transparent and opaque white printed elements alternate in horizontal stripes. The glass plays with the light and gives the towers a different appearance depending on the weather and time of day. At one point, Bau 1 and Bau 2 are heavily striped; when the sunshade is down, they appear homogeneously white.

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