Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
Form, color, movement are the most obvious of many outstanding aspects in Calder’s Art. We wanted to therefore avoid rather than adopt the use of those as possible design elements when beginning to conceive an architecture for the presentation of his work.
Since the given site between the Vine Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway does not have much charm, we felt that plants and gardens could help transform it successfully and turn itself into an attractive place for the people of Philadelphia, rather than simply adding another museum building to the already impressive collection of museums which are lining up along Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
All of that strongly impacted our design – which was actually an open-ended process rather than a finished concept based on a fixed program. A kind of conceptual path which made us carve out the ground rather than build forms and volumes above – we were looking for space to present Calder’s work in a new and unprecedented way.
That space in the making eventually grew into a whole sequence of different galleries and also rather unexpected spaces, niches and gardens; such as the apse and the quasi-galleries or open plan gallery, the sunken or vestige gardens. And not only galleries in the classical sense, but every corner and angle, every stair and corridor should be offering itself up as a place to put art.
We could only do this through a close dialogue with a client who was asking for such a new type of place for being with art: an interplay between art, architecture and people – challenging but with rich potential for the curators to display Calder‘s incredibly multifaceted work in ever new and unexpected ways.
Jacques Herzog, August 2022.
- Design Consultant : Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd, Basel, Switzerland
- Executive Architect : Ballinger, The Ballinger Company, Philadelphia, USA
- General Contractor: LF Driscoll
- Special Collaborators
- Landscape Designer: Piet Oudolf
- Landscape Architect : Richard Herbert
- Building Data
- Site Area: 69'319 sqft, 6'440 sqm
- Gross floor area (GFA): 17'695 sqft, 1'644 sqm
- GFA above ground: 4'714 sqft, 438 sqm
- GFA below ground: 12'981 sqft, 1'206 sqm
- Net floor area: 12'023 sqft, 1'117 sqm
- Number of levels: 2
- Length: 183 ft, 56 m
- Width: 36 ft, 11 m
- Height: 16 ft, 5 m