From Haito to Herzog & De Meuron
New exhibition rooms with a separate entrance and an extravagant roof! The Museum der Kulturen Basel is taking on a new identity – in the heart of the medieval city of Basel. Modern, stylish exhibition rooms flooded with light invite you to stroll and gaze.
Nothing has shaped the Münsterplatz as much as the Minster, built in red sandstone. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Basel whose name was Haito. The striking roof with the colourful tiles will now have serious competition: If one looks from the Minster towers down on the square, the eye is drawn by the silhouette of the colourful shimmering museum roof, which fits seamlessly into the roofscape on the Münsterhügel (Minster hill). Under the direction of architects Herzog & de Meuron, a striking building has been completed – another jewel in the crown of Basel architecture.
The Neoclassical structure built by Melchior Berri in 1849 was the first building in German-speaking Switzerland to be purpose-built as a museum, and was a bold intervention in the largely medieval architecture then prevalent on the Münsterhügel. The museum was conceived as a ‘universal museum’ to house both science and art exhibits. As its stock of objects grew, and to create space for future collections, the courtyard annex, designed by architects Vischer & Söhne, was opened in 1917. A bold new extension has now been added to the Vischer building by Herzog & de Meuron, with the added storey under the impressively designed folded roof.