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Stadtcasino Basel

The Stadtcasino has been a gem in Basel since 1876 and, together with the nearby theatre, the Historical Museum and the Kunsthalle, forms a cultural hotspot in the city. The renovated and extended music hall of the Stadtcasino Basel was reopened in summer 2020. The extension by Herzog & de Meuron is characterised by a special wooden facade that visually echoes the neo-baroque stone architecture of the building, which was built in 1876.

Herzog & de Meuron
Herzog & de Meuron
Basel, Switzerland
  • Lignosil-Color

Sophisticated timber construction in neo-baroque design

To give the existing music hall more space for the required extension, various options and variants were analysed. The only convincing solution was to conceive the music hall as an autonomous structure, detached from the 1939 casino building. The extension had to grow naturally out of the historic core building. It was therefore important to design the extension in the same neo-baroque language - at least at first glance. While the existing historical facade is solid masonry, the facade of the new building is designed as an insulated reinforced concrete wall with rear-ventilated cladding for structural and energy reasons. Wood turned out to be the most suitable material for this. The geometries adopted from the original façade were slightly modified in order to fulfil the structural requirements of the natural material.

Distinctive appearance and highlighting of the wooden structure

The project manager at PIRMIN JUNG chose Accoya wood for its dimensional stability, durability and ability to retain the natural wood grain. Accoya wood remains stable even in humid climates, resulting in longer-lasting coatings. The timber cladding of the unique project was realised with 18 different profiles made of Accoya wood, whereby the structural wood protection posed a challenge. Intensive pre-treatment and the use of the mineral, non-film-forming KEIM Lignosil-Color wood paint emphasised the wood structure and imitated the historic facade. The wood colour was applied industrially three times and then brushed intensively. The wood was brushed intensively before treatment. This allowed the depth effect of the wood structure to be further emphasised.

Facade with a surprising element

The mineral colour chosen by the architects and the conservationists plays a decisive role in the expression and durability of a wooden facade with a deliberately stony appearance. With KEIM Lignosil, a mineral-based, sustainable material without biocidal film protection was used, which is open-pored and does not hinder moisture from escaping in any way. This type of mineral coating also gives the timber the protection that it deserves as a durable and naturally beautiful facade wood from an architectural, aesthetic and ecological point of view. The architects' intention was to provide the extension with an "interesting" and "surprising" element. From a distance, the view of the matt and luminous mineral façade surface reveals an unagitated similarity to the existing historical stone facade. Only when you get closer does the natural, sustainable origin of the new extension become clearer: this is not stonework, but remineralised timber cladding. The surprise is perfect.

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