The building in Kleinbasal’s old town stands on the former garden grounds of a Neo-Classical home. Tall firewalls gradually enclosed the site on three sides, leaving a slightly oblique-angled courtyard. Into this space, the building fits like a coupling piece. The L-shape of the building takes up three of the courtyard’s four quadrants, while the residential building occupies the fourth.
The building is the procurement center for a chain of department stores and serves as a space where their showrooms can be arranged and managed. The products are not stored here in a conventional sense but are, instead, continuously being processed. The atmosphere of a commodities market pervades the entire building, which the raw interior finish underscores, even to the inclusion of the stairwell with its exposed concrete walls.
The displaced arrangement of windows and window frames made of green dyed artificial stone gives the courtyard façade the air of ossified fabric: fluid yet solid. The top floors, set back from the perimeter for the entire circumference of the building, have a clinker brick facing. The upper and lower volumes are intertwined. The lower section, defined by the rhythm of juxtaposed windows, gives impression of relating to the upper section being anchored to it.
The building’s façade creates a continuous texture that stands at an oblique angle to the rectangular column grid, which in turn is aligned with the surrounding streets. Accordingly, the façade, rather representing this grid, refers exclusively to itself.
A wall with a niche serves as the street-facing façade. A new public fountain has been set into the wall to replace the predecessor from 1954 and includes two of the original mosaics by artist Carlo König.
Client: Maus Frères
Location: Rebgasse, Basel, Switzerland
Gross Floor Area (GFA): 12.870 m²
Use / Function: offices, showrooms
Structural Engineer: Léon Goldberg
Mechanical Engineer: D. Studer