Architecture in Basel


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There are a lot of buildings in Basel that have a very interesting architecture. And because Irma is an architect (that might be the reason why we went to Basel in the first place), I asked her to write the text for this page. And she did!
One of the most interesting buildings in Basel is the Union Bank of Switzerland, built by Mario Botta. This big, massive building seems to have an almost absolute symmetry. However, if you consider the plans more closely, you discover this is only partly true.

The symmetry-axis is rather curiously placed next to the square, where it has no obvious relation with its surroundings. The facade, made of green-gray granite and white marble, enhances the distinct look of this building.

The picture on the left is the Vitra Design Museum, built by Frank Gehry & Associates. This building, placed on the terrain of the Vitra plant in Weil am Rhein (just across the border to Germany), is one of Gehry's first realized buildings in Europe.

Gehry is always happy to experiment with complex shapes. However, he is renowned for successfully working out the details, by building models of every part of his buildings.

In the picture above you can see the production plant, by the same architect, in the background.

The Vitra Design Museum looks as lots of coincidental shapes at first, but once you get inside, the shapes come together in an interesting combination of form and light.

On the picture on the left you see the office building for Vitra in Birsfelden, also built by Gehry. This building resembles the Vitra Design Museum in many ways. However, due to its function, some parts of this building are more basic than others. For the loss of form he suffers at some facades, he more than makes up at the side where the more outspoken functions are placed. This gives this building an interesting contrast, which most modern office buildings must do without.
Building for exposition im Grün by Zaha Hadid. This architect is famous for her attempts to put motion into her designs. The fire station, at the Vitra plant in Weil am Rhein was her first building which was actually constructed. This building is not nearly as exciting, however the path that runs over the building gives it an interesting quality.


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