Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Phone: +41 61 385 5757
The “Südpark” is situated in the Gundeldinger Quarter opposite the main station on the other side of the tracks, as it were. The completion in 2003 of the overhead walkway spanning the railway station has given the neighborhood great impetus. The most densely populated in all of Switzerland, it has become a dynamic area of diverse uses, pulsating street life and thriving construction.
The Südpark ensemble plays an important role in this process of renewal; it is a multi-functional project with challenging specifications and uses. The design for its expansion in 2002 was a simple perimeter block; it has now developed into a hybrid complex with an underground computer center, large-scale retail stores and a seniors’ residence housed in a 10-story highrise.
Güterstrasse is the lifeline of the Gundeldinger Quarter. The buildings that line the street and represent a diversity of styles and ages, are all integrated into the regular block pattern of the neighborhood. The Südpark also conforms to this convergent, right angle order of unbroken façades facing the street with private inner courtyards behind them.
Thanks to extension of the station through the overhead walkway, the Gundeldinger Quarter and Güterstrasse are now linked with the center of town. This special urban situation allows for variations in the architectural volume of the Südpark complex. Where it faces the Gundeldinger Quarter, the building had to be lower to fit in with the neighboring buildings, while it was possible to add more stories to the side facing the open, unbuilt area of the railroad tracks. Along the Güterstrasse, the Südpark forms a block that follows the street within the site perimeter. The sides between Meret-Oppenheim-Strasse and Güterstrasse are set back, generating areas that are not just for transit but large enough to become welcoming public spaces. Facing the tracks, a striking high-rise emphasizes the northern border of the Gundeldinger Quarter. The Südpark reinforces the significance of the walkway and its head end for urban traffic, and in turn benefits from being so close to the most important traffic hub in northwestern Switzerland.
The Seniorenresidenz Südpark with a surface area of some 12,000 m2 provides living space for the elderly, including 103 apartments as well as a 26-room elderly care unit. The arrangement of the apartments in the north and east wings of the building is ideal with regard to access, lighting, views and noise emissions. The view from the high-rise building sweeps across the city to the hills of the Black Forest to the north and the Bruderholz neighborhood to the south. The main entrance on Meret Oppenheim-Strasse accesses the reception desk, lobby, restaurant and cafeteria, which are grouped around a spacious inner courtyard planted with maple trees. With its area of some 1,200 m2, the courtyard is an inviting place to meet and relax for both residents and office employees working in the Südpark.
Flexible offices on four floors, located just a few minutes from the main station, extend along the Güterstrasse and the west wing of the building. Some 5,600 m2 of space allow for both open plan and cellular workplaces.
The ground floor has a retail area of approximately 4,200 m2. Ample parking facilities in the building and under the adjacent walkway will make the Südpark an attractive place to shop even for those who do not live or work in the neighborhood.
The façade of the Südpark seeks to render the historical character of the differently shaped windows in the Gundeldinger Quarter in a contemporary architectural idiom. The intention is not only to make a pleasing visual impression from outside but also to ensure ample daylight inside as well as offering unexpected, fortuitous views and niches for storage. The mat, silvery appearance of the façade is generated by a commercially available synthetic stucco. The seemingly random arrangement of the unevenly sized windows is actually the result of parametric programming, developed by Herzog & de Meuron and the CAAD chair at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. The façade consists of 12 freely combined window shapes, which fuse into meandering, right-angled windows designed to match the scale and daily activities of human life. At selected places in the building, the façade is extruded inwards, creating sills that can be used, for instance as seating. Casing runs all around the windows on the outside. The almost entirely glazed façade around the inner courtyard with its restful horizontal subdivision stands in contrast to the stucco façade.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2013
“Wohn- und Geschäftshaus mit Seniorenresidenz in Basel. Housing and Busniess Development with Seniors’ Residence in Basle.”
In: Christian Schittich (Ed.). “Detail. Zeitschrift für Architektur und Baudetail.” Munich, Institut für internationale Architektur-Dokumentation GmbH & Co., 04.2015. pp. 350-354.