Grand Prize Winner & Category Winner Sharing Public Spaces: Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland

white museum building modern architecture front view Kunstmuseum Basel
Kunstmuseum Basel Extension, Switzerland © Rory Gardiner

Key facts

Architects Christ & gantenbein, Switzerland
Location Basel, Switzerland
Construction period 2012 - 2016
Nomination category
Sharing public spaces
Purpose Art museum
Usable floor area 4.400 m²
Brick type Clay blocks

The winning project

In April 2016 the 8,000-square-meter extension of the Kunstmuseum Basel was opened. Just a few steps from the Rhine, the Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein erected a solitary gray structure that is connected through an underground hall with the main building. The façade of the museum consists of bricks, in red and yellow tones, which were extracted with nitrogen. Through the chemical process of the material, the building appears like a coarse-grained, black-and- white photograph in the middle of the city. Darker bricks were rather used on the lower part of the building whereas the material becomes successively brighter towards the top, forming a gentle color gradient.
“We wanted the new building to speak the same language as the exist­ing structure with its mighty walls and distinctive hori­zontal stripes. At the same time, however, we wanted to tell a completely distinct, new story.” - Christ & Gantenbein
In the extension of the Kunstmuseum Basel, a conscious decision was made for a material that stands for timelessness, sustainability and struc­tural precision: The entire outer shell of the façade gets by without a single expansion joint.

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