Herzog & de Meuron
Competition
1985
Project
1985
Realization
1987–1988

Continuing the curve of the site, the mixed-use building contains a shop at ground floor level, an underground car park, and apartments on the first floor and up. A raised gravelled garden overlooked by open loggias on the west form the public areas. The apartments are reached via a quasi-freed curving access balcony. Together with the floor construction of the loggias, the main horizontal levels are stressed on the street side by the large curving ledges. Two superimposed curves, drawn from the site’s geometry produce an “interference” pattern on the principal façade, a study in the visual impact of structure and geometry that can also be seen in the Ricola storage building, the Signal Box and the Centre Culturel de Blois. The apartments themselves are conventional, with the minor exception of the curving façade section and diagonal wall of the two apartment units, which in this case is used to give an enlarged sense of volume. The roof level has a more accentuated setback, meeting the gable wall of the adjacent building.

The external skin consists of coloured prefabricated concrete panels, while the panelling system on the interior has a similar rhythm. Folding wooden shutters are akin to the design used for the House in Tavole.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1988

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Process

In 1931, a round building was already situated on the corner parcel.

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The Schlotterbeck garage near the Basel main station has meanwhile been demolished; it used to be another poignant round structure in Basel.

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Towards the street intersection, the facade becomes more dynamic: the spherical arc of the terraces and the jolted curve of the building volume meet one another.

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The building is terminated with a loggia tract towards the back street. The almost shell-like end of the building underlines the serial character of the facade elements.

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The strictly serial facade structure with prefabricated elements has a predecessor in the Basel college by Hans Bernoulli.

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Prefabricated and colored concrete elements vary the theme of the circle and provide the facade with a graphic clarity: the gray concrete ribs remind one of gradual lines, the greenish concrete panels of segments of a circle. The curve of the facade is enhanced by the rectangular shutter box on the first floor.

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Circular dynamic in the elliptic stairway and the terrace-like access ways of the apartments held by the open loggia tract.

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Drawings

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Team

Project Team
Annette Gigon (Project Architect)

Facts

Client
Horat Generalunternehmung AG
Planning
General Planning: Horat Generalunternehmung AG
Construction Management: Horat Generalunternehmung AG
Structural Engineering: Cyrill J. Burger AG, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: Gysin & Ehrsam AG, Pratteln, Switzerland
Specialist / Consulting
Concrete Elements Consulting: Brodtbeck AG, Pratteln, Switzerland

Bibliography

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 CosmĂ©tica.” 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Vol. No. 60+84, Madrid, El Croquis, 2005.

Wilfried Wang: “Herzog & de Meuron.” 3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (= Studiopaperback).

Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1978-1988. Das Gesamtwerk. Band 1. The Complete Works. Volume 1.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1997. Vol. No. 1.

Martin Steinmann: “Das!. Zu zwei neuen Werken.” In: Verlegergemeinschaft Werk, Bauen + Wohnen (Ed.). “Werk, Bauen + Wohnen. Die 60er, danach und heute. Les AnnĂ©es 60, après et aujourd’hui. The Sixties – Results and Influences.” Vol. No. 9, Zurich, Wohnen+Bauen GmbH, 09.1989. pp. 44-57.

Carl Fingerhuth: “Architektur als soziale Werke.” In: Verlegergemeinschaft Werk, Bauen + Wohnen (Ed.). “Werk, Bauen + Wohnen. Entscheiden ĂĽber Architektur. Les dĂ©cision en Architecture. Architectural Decisions.” Vol. No. 3, Zurich, Verlag Bauen + Wohnen GmbH, 03.1988. p. 44-57.

Location