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.