This concentration of exhibition centre activities is also an important urban planning matter for the development of the surrounding Kleinbasel neighbourhood, aimed at regaining outlying exhibition spaces on the present Deutsche Bahn (German Railways) area for apartments, offices and small businesses while simultaneously upgrading the Messeplatz as a focal point in Kleinbasel.
Planned for many uses and events that will take place during and between exhibitions, and featuring restaurants and shops intended for a mix of international, local, exhibition, and public visitors, we have named this new outdoor hall the City Lounge. Open at all times, the City Lounge not only defines the entrance to the fair spaces, but will be a focal point of public life on Clarastrasse (the main shopping street in Kleinbasel) and will significantly enliven the street culture around the Messeplatz. For example, during the autumn fair the partially covered hall will create a fascinating atmosphere with smaller booths and aisles open to, yet protected, from the elements.
City Lounge and Messeplatz
Taking Baselworld as a leading example of a modern international exhibition, where the halls are animated by the individual exhibitors’ stands, the goods on display and the crowds of visitors, the question of an exhibition hall architecture does not seem to be a primary demand. Architecture is only perceptible in public areas and stairways and only there can an interface with the wider public landscape of the city emerge. The best illustration of this is the round courtyard in Hall 2. Regrettably, this courtyard is only accessible during exhibitions as it is undoubtedly one of the most attractive public areas in Basel and, especially during Art Basel in June, one of the most successful urban meeting points in the whole of Switzerland. The City Lounge aims to turn the inward-looking architecture of the round courtyard towards the outside and to make it accessible all year round.
The New Hall features three exhibition levels. The entrance level, the lowest, is at grade with the street and outdoor square, permitting a natural and casual coming-and-going. Ground floor entrances seamlessly link the City Lounge to the existing Hall 1, former Hall 3, the new event space for 2’500 spectators, and a number of shops, bars and restaurants in the foyers. The dynamic sweep of the street level facade reacts to the flows of people and corresponds to the space required at the tram stop and entrances to the exhibition centre and Event Hall. Here, large expanses of glass create the spatial transparency both necessary and appropriate in order to achieve the openness envisioned for the exhibition hall complex and the enlivening of public urban life. This vitalisation and acceptance will be crucial to the long-term success of the “Messezentrum in the city” concept. Above the ground will be two exhibition floors. To avoid the “big box” effect, the two upper volumes are offset from each other as separate entities, which indeed they are!
Location: Basel, Switzerland
Architects: Herzog – Meuron
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach (Partner in Charge), Wolfgang Hardt
Projects Team: Tobias Winkelmann (Associate, Project Director), Michael Schmidt (Associate), Stefan Hörner (Associate), Roger Huwyler (Project Architect), Roland Schreiber (Project Architect); Philip Albrecht, Israel Alvarez Matamoros, Michael Bär, Axel Beck, Marcelo Bernardi, Benito Blanco Avellano, Alexander Bürgi, Amparo Casaní Arazo, Estelle Chan, Massimo Corradi (Digital Technology Group), Francisco de Freitas, Dorothee Dietz, Francis Fawcett, Oliver Franke, Eik Frenzel, Johann Gruber, Sabine Harmuth, Oke Hauser, Volker Helm (Digital Technology Group), Wilhelm Heusser, Yuko Himeno, Ursula Hürzeler, Debora Hummel, Thorsten Kemper, Oxana Krause, Sophia Lau, Christian Laviola, Corinne Lopez, Xiaojing Lu, Ulrik Mathiasson, Katja Mezger, Marcello Nasso, Benjamin Olschner, David Palussiere, Dirk Peters, Louis Putot, Susanna Rahm, Holger Rasch, Sebastian Reinhardt, Nina Andrea Renner, Steffen Riegas (Digital Technology Group), Kathrin Riemenschnitter, Nathalie Rinne, Georg Sebastian Schmid, Katja Schneider, Katharina Schwiete, Jochen Seelos, Jan Skuratowski, Johannes Staudt, Matthias Stücheli, Nicolas Venzin, Manuel Villanueva, Thomas von Girsewald, Miriam Waltz, Romy Weber, Léonie Wenz, Gerd Wetzel, Douwe Wieërs, Thomas Wyssen, Claudia Winkelmann, Camillo Zanardini, Christian Zerreis
Landscape Architects: Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten
Sustainability Consultant: Ingenieurbüro Stefan Graf
Design and Build Contractor: HRS Real Estate AG
Area: 83,297 sqm
Client: MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel) Ltd.
Photo: Courtesy of Messe Basel