Kunstmuseum Basel

PrizeWinner in Architectural Design / Cultural Architecture
Firm LocationBasel, Switzerland
CompanyChrist & Gantenbein
Lead ArchitectEmanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein
Design TeamEmanuel Christ (Lead Architect), Christoph Gantenbein (Lead Architect), Julia Tobler (Project Manager, Extension), Michael Bertschmann (Project Manager Extension), Stephanie Hirschvogel (Project Manager Main building Renovation)
ClientConstruction and Transportation Department, Canton Basel-Stadt

As a result of Christ & Gantenbein’s extension, the enlarged Kunstmuseum consists of two buildings forming a unified presence able to redefine a prominent location in the city of Basel. The two buildings are in communication with each other across the street that runs between them. The distinctive bend on the new building’s façade is a gesture of welcome to the city, as it frames the street intersection effectively turning it into its own forecourt. Like in the old building, the extension’s façade hints at classical architecture’s order of base, middle, and capital. This is visualized through the brickwork’s shades of gray as well as a frieze that encircles the top of the building. Its narrow horizontal joints create a fine relief cast in shadow by the incident daylight, LEDs strips sunk into the grooves of the brickwork diffuse a delicate light used to display text or graphics. The new building speaks the language of its counterpart, but the story it tells is a different one. The extension is not a repetition or a copy of the main building, but rather a contemporary building capable of accommodating new forms of art and the engagement with it.