Founded in 1978 by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, Herzog & de Meuron is considered to be one of the best-known architectural offices in the world today. If you love their simple and elegant style, here are five buildings you should see when in Basel, Switzerland.
Architecture by Herzog & de Meuron in Basel
Herzog & de Meuron have just been announced as winners of the competition to realise the Museum der Moderne in Berlin. The new building will be located next to the Berliner Philharmonie and the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Berlin Kulturforum. They also created the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, one of the most discussed buildings in Germany. The concert hall with elaborate glass windows and the longest escalator in Europe will finally be opened in January 2017. Furthermore, the architects are responsible for the extensions of the buildings of Tate Modern in London, the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar and the Caixa-Forum in Madrid, to name but a few. Originally from Basel, Herzog & de Meuron have also created extraordinary buildings in their hometown, which are worth a visit.
In April 2013, the Neue Messe Basel was officially opened after 22 months of construction. The building by Herzog & de Meuron has significantly altered the proportions of the Messeplatz. It consists of three stacked hall bodies, which extend out into their surroundings. The two upper halls are moved towards each other so that they are perceived as separate units. Particularly impressive is the lamella structure, which is especially noticeable at the Messeplatz.
Messeplatz 1, CH – 4058 Basel
Located opposite Messeplatz, you can find another work by Herzog & de Meuron: The gallery spaces of Freymond-Guth Fine Arts. The brutalist architecture of the building dates back to 1972. In the past years it has been used as a storage to the Basel Department of Monument Preservation. Recently the spaces have been renovated by Herzog & de Meuron. Now the building includes exhibition and storage spaces, offices as well as artist flats. The exhibition space of Freymond-Guth is dedicated to curatorial projects in collaboration with guest curators and galleries.
Riehenstrasse 90B, CH – 4058 Basel
Freymond-Guth Fine Arts
A little further away from the Neue Messe Basel, not far from the Spalentor and the University, you will find okay art. The gallery is located in a simple, but beautiful building by Herzog & de Meuron. It was founded in 1999 by Reha Okay, and specializes in desing antiques from Switzerland, but also from Scandinavia, Italy, France and other European countries. Attached to the showrooms is a café, managed by Nadine Okay-Erismann, the Co-Managing Director of the gallery.
Schützenmattstrasse 11, CH – 4051 Basel
okay art, café & furniture
When you leave Basel and cross the border to Germany, you will reach the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein. Here Herzog & de Meuron have created two buildings. The first one is the VitraHaus, built in 2010. At this place you can find the flagship store of furniture manufacturer Vitra. The architecture is inspired by the design of the „prototype-house“: Simple house-shaped elements which have been stretched in length, arranged within each other and fitted with large windows at the front. The 12 individual elements create a “stack of houses” that looks a little bit chaotic.
Ray-Eames-Str. 1, D – 79576 Weil am Rhein
Only a few meters away from the VitraHaus you will find the Schaudepot, the second building created by Herzog & de Meuron at the Vitra Campus. Just recently opened in June 2016, the building provides the Vitra Design Museum with a venue for presenting key objects from its extensive collection to the public. The Schaudepot is one of the world’s largest permanent exhibition spaces and research facilities on modern furniture design. On the outside the brick house looks simple and stands in contrast to the colorful and expressive exhibits inside.
Charles-Eames-Strasse 2, D – 79576 Weil am Rhein
Vitra Design Museum, Schaudepot
>>> This article was written in connection to the blogger trip #BlauerReiterBasel. The trip was initiated and funded by the Fondation Beyeler and Art & Design Museums Basel.
Pictures: Angelika Schoder – Basel/ Weil am Rhein, 2016