Hochbergerstrasse 158, Basel
open competition, 2020 | 1st prize - ongoing
The former administrative building of the Office for Environment and Energy (AUE) in Kleinhüningen, built in 1965, is situated in an area characterized by very different urban structures. The heavy industry and the large-scale port facilities along the river Rhine form a heterogeneous composition of buildings without significant design features. Towards the Wiese, a rather standard residential area is located, providing mainly apartment buildings of equal scale. On the north side, the old village of Kleinhüningen, with small historic houses and fragments of picturesque streets, is brutally confined and cut off from the activities of the port industry.
The building, located in between these contrasting urban patterns, will be converted into dwellings for smaller households, generous communal spaces for residents and neighbours, as well as ateliers and coworking spaces. Its design is based on the idea of an arcade facing the street façade that connects all apartments and creates a common space for interaction and spontaneous encounters. The layering of different boundaries creates a gradient of privacy, from the street and the arcade through the living rooms and kitchens to the private bedrooms in the north, overlooking a quiet courtyard.
The existing concrete structure from the 1960s receives both a new interior and a new skin that represents the building's new function in the city. However, the two main facades to the south and to the north, are treated differently according to their function and context.
The south facade, facing the river Wiese and the street, is given a light steel structure that integrates the necessary elements such as sunshades and railings. Here, thanks to the arcade, the concrete support structure remains visible. The north facade will receive new windows and parapet cladding made of wood, creating a contrast to the rather rough industrial walls of the adjacent buildings, but at the same time considerately reacting to the existing neighboring buildings.