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Kunstmuseum Basel

Pablo Casals-Aguirre

Evolving: a museum under examination.


This is part of a series of videos featuring winners and finalists from the 2019 Simon Architecture Prize.

Located in Switzerland, the Kunstmuseum Basel was built in the 1930s. Now Christ & Gantenbein Architekten was appointed to design an extension; the new development posed the question: how to creating kinship while maintaining individuality?

Pablo Aguirre-Casals is the best guide we could ask for: in his video for the Simon Architecture Prize 2018, the video maker let us inside of the building for a “private” visit. We enter from the extension’s façade, which hints at a classical tripartite order of base, middle and cornice. Its concave corner forms a welcoming entrance while referring to the main building’s arcade, punched windows structure the first floor and a frieze adorns the second floor.

Then we sunk underground, to experience the contemporary art section: a Bruce Nauman’s artwork welcomes us and indicates the direction to the room dedicated to the video art. One of the most difficult tasks we can ask a museum is to match the ambiance with its content, but at the Kunstmuseum Basel form follows function… sort of.
This means that the overall impression one gets from the Aguirre-Casals’ video is of a place that acknowledges multitudes, different ambiances for different exhibitions, multipurpose spaces that will allow everyone to find its spot inside the museum, allow them to grow and evolve together with it.

In the extension design, Christ & Gantenbein Architekten took into consideration the building’s position within a medieval-sized urban fabric and on a busy crossroad and the need to assure an optimal climate for artworks. But that’s not all: what we see in this video is also the creation of spaces where people can rest, read and experience the museum as an extension of the public space itself.

“The extension to the Kunstmuseum in Basel represents an outstanding example of collective space by virtue of the relation it establishes with the community and the urban context it addresses” says design team at Christ & Gantenbein Architekten, “Refusing the ex-nihilo generic architecture spreading worldwide, the building becomes a powerful and unique urban landmark while gracefully integrating the complex context it eventually belongs to”.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Christ & Gantenbein Architekten
Mentioned project: Kunstmuseum Basel
(2010-2016)
Project location: Basel, Switzerland
Production, direction, sound desing and post production: Pablo Casals-Aguirre
Production: Pablo Casals-Aguirre and TRANSFER Global Architecture Platform
Music: Project Divinity and Dimitri Leto
Color: Pemjean Danny
Field assisitant: Seba Lira

Switzerland 2018
Duration: 5'11"