Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 385 5757
Located precisely on the border between Basel and St. Louis, the sports centre is a project in the French part of Basel’s surrounding agglomeration. The entrance for both French and Swiss visitors is from the Swiss side. A large hall, divisible into three small gymnasiums and a gymnastics room, forms the midpoint of the sports centre. The surrounding galleries serve as access areas and for larger sports events as additional seating space.
A long low building with a cantilevered projecting roof is built onto the cube of the glass hall. It serves as the main entrance and houses infrastructures for the sports business (newspaper stand, snack bar, changing rooms and technical installations). A light athletic track for training and rehabilitation, three soccer fields and a covered all-weather field are ordered around the hall. Both hall and outside installations are accessible to wheelchair-users and handicapped.
The building’s load-bearing structure is, in part, prefabricated, in part, made of locally cast concrete. The hall’s cube is sheathed in large format green glass plates. Through special imprinting the plates function as a filter for daylight penetrating into the hall’s inner spaces.
The locker room tract is made of locally cast concrete. The underside of the projecting roof, the longitudinal façades and the square in front of it are covered in prefabricated concrete slabs whose surfaces have been roughened with a specially developed printing technique that makes them appear to be like photographic surfaces. The concrete surface mediating between outer and inner space at this entry point appears softer, almost textile-like. The printing of the glass plates and the concrete slabs ties together the two materials, otherwise highly differing in their appearance. The volumes of the hall and the locker room tract recede somewhat into the background in favour of the surfaces – playing fields, grass fields, and façades.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1996
Location plan: The grounds are situated at the immediate border between France and Switzerland.
The roof spans most of the large interior hall, uninterrupted by supports. The prefabricated concrete pillars are filled in-situ with poured concrete and are set at angles thus giving the space a lively rhythm.
Between the diagonal pillars and outside wall is a wide walkway with a window front facing the sports field. It can be used for sports activities as well.
Simple design of the locker rooms.
The special invention of imprinting photographic pictures onto the outer layer of the concrete surface was first used for the sports complex Pfaffenholz. The slightly rough surface creates a spatial effect. The flat service building thus obtains additional depth. The spotted pattern plays with the shadows of the leaves of the neighboring trees.
The theme of imprinting the facade was taken up with another material: the building’s shell was provided with another layer by imprinting the dark smoke glass of the outer enclosure on the inside with the pattern of the insulation mats lying underneath.
Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.): “Arquitectura Viva. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2007.” 2nd rev. ed. Madrid, Arquitectura Viva, 2007.
Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1989-1991. The Complete Works. Volume 2.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2005. Vol. No. 2.
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.
“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.
Wilfried Wang: “Herzog & de Meuron.” 3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (= Studiopaperback).
Herzog & de Meuron: “Ornament. Ricola Europe SA., Sportanlage Pfaffenholz, Bibliothek der Fachhochschulen Eberswalde, Griechisch-Orthodoxe Kirche in Zürich, Zwei Bibliotheken für den Campus von Jussieu.” In: Marc Fester, Sabine Kraft, Nikolaus Kuhnert (Eds.) et al. Archplus. Herzog & de Meuron. Minimalismus und Ornament. Vol. No. 129/130, Aachen, ARCH+ Verlag GmbH, 12.1995. pp. 25-56.