Herzog & de Meuron

The cartoon museum is a tiny museum which has been in operation since 1976 without any government support. It organises exchange exhibitions featuring works from its own collection as well as loans from other museums.

The site, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is a narrow, elongated plot measuring 6 x 25 metres. The museum is housed in two different buildings connected by a passage – one of them is several centuries old, the other is a new building. The entrance, curator’s office, library and a few small exhibition rooms are in the old building. Each storey has different details, wooden floors and wall panels that make them each quite distinct. The design of the three-storey new building is much simpler and stands as a more integral piece. Each storey has a single, open area measuring 6 x 8 metres. In addition to the walls there are display cases for the exhibits (drawings, prints, photographs, smaller objects). The old and new buildings stand on either side of a small courtyard.

The new building consists of three concrete slabs that support the walls of the exhibition areas and a glass wall on the courtyard side. The old and new buildings are connected by a completely glazed passage which divides the courtyard into two chimney-like spaces. The angled, glass surfaces of the façade and the passage have been arranged in such a way that the courtyard, which is surrounded by glass, provides openings through which indirect daylight can enter the exhibition spaces. This has the effect of a large Chinese lantern. The kaleidoscopic spatial effect is enhanced by the use of two different highly reflective types of glass.

The small, glazed light well thus creates an even more compact effect, which cannot be immediately grasped by the visitor in spatial terms. The movement backwards and forwards between the old and new building consequently serves to raise the question of real and fictitious space.

Herzog & de Meuron, 2006






Christoph Merian Stiftung, Basel
Construction Management: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering: Ingenieurbüro Helmut Pauli, Basel, Switzerland
Electrical Engineering: K.Keller, Kelplan, Therwil, Switzerland
HVAC Engineering: Urs Grossbacher, Therwil, Switzerland
Landscape Design: Kienast: Vogt Partner, Zurich, Switzerland
Specialist / Consulting
Facade Consultant : Philippe Petignat, Gerber-Vogt AG, Basel, Switzerland
Silkscreen on Polycarbonate Panels: Marc Weidmann, Oberwil, Switzerland
Building Data
Site Area: 1'679 sqft, 156 sqm
Gross floor area (GFA): 6'189 sqft, 575 sqm
Gross volume (GV): 68'616 cbft, 1'943 cbm


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.

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.

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

Lutz Windhöfel: “Klein, aber fein. Das neue Karikatur & Cartoon Museum von Herzog & de Meuron.” In: Christoph Merian Stiftung (Ed.). “Basler Stadtbuch 1996. Ausgabe 1997.” Basel, Christoph Merian, 1997. pp. 184-185.