An intimate apartment building in the heart of Basel brings modern residences to a historic city, while enhancing and respecting its heritage.
Replacing their old family home with a modern, five-tenancy building has allowed our clients to live below their son and his family and create retirement income from the three units above. Reverent and sensitive to historical context, these new residences bring desirable modern spaces into the city center.
We wanted the building to feel like it had always been there by making it contextual, rather than traditional. By distilling and abstracting heritage forms and details, it feels like it belongs to the city. The scale, number, and distribution of apertures on the street façade echoes the historic scale and rhythm of the street fenestration.
We developed a system of customized shutters specifically for the project to modulate light and views for interiors facing the street. When open, the shutters provide deep frames that flank each window, further accentuating the verticality of the project.
With a restricted site and budget, we proposed a simple cast-concrete structure with refined touchpoints. The bush-hammered finish of the façade—completed on-site by local craftspeople—brings detail and scale by exposing colorful local stone aggregates. Understated, yet powerful details pervade both the interior and exterior. The sculptural concrete staircase stands in quiet contrast to the dark steel balustrade as it wraps its way, ribbon-like, through the space.
The rear façade takes on an alternative character, with the punched windows of the street elevation giving way to a series of expansive, panoramic windows framing views of the garden and Basel’s old church spires. Rooms are light-filled and airy, all carefully crafted to support the lifestyle of the occupants and a modern sense of place in the heart of Europe.