Basel rejects Zaha Hadid casino



The citizens of Basel, Switzerland, have voted by a clear majority against architect Zaha Hadid's proposed Neues Stadt-Casino, meaning the auditorium will now not be built.


Hadid won an invited competition four years ago to design the building, which would have been the city's new concert hall. But Swiss tradition states that the public get the final say on any large project that involves public spending. Basler Zeitung reports that 62.6% of voters rejected the proposal.


Basel also voted against retaining the city's remaining trolleybuses in a separate plebiscite. They will now be replaced by gas-powered buses.

Posted on Monday June 25th 2007 at 2:28 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Zender

    No wonder is was rejected… It is rubbish.

  • MCA

    Thank god that it hapened. Zaha want to say: We live in a democray, but who leads and the “boss” is me…

  • J Burgher

    Just like most of her recent work.

  • espi

    actually, it’s the first and only zaha’s project i like

  • M Hrus

    when you sit in front of a computer and churn out the same nurb based rubbish, eventually someone[community] will call you on it. lets avoid all the peter pan architecture and create something useable.

  • ric

    casinos sucks anyway!!!

  • jose

    Actually one of the least rubbish/ugly/whatever Hadid projects ad it gets canned. the irony

  • ben

    woo hoo!! if only we could vote on all of zaha’s works…

    ie, should zaha be allowed to continue to produce crap tables for established and sons…

  • Zender

    Ben, hell no! :D

  • Soapbox

    Just another mark of the fascist attitudes artists and architects now face everyday from an under-educated, ignorant public. For some reason, much of today’s society is unwilling to accept where we exist in the time line of humanity.

    So many are fearful of acknowledging that we no longer live in a classical period. Instead they’d rather have buildings whose appearance relies on craft, materials, and cultures no longer available. So they falsify that existence with a cheap copy that will fall apart in a few decades.

    Everyone wants to live in a horse drawn carriage but nobody wants to go to the doctor and have their blood let by leaches. We are now in an era where function follows form. Where appearance is more meaningful that function, quality of construction, and ephemeral qualities of space.

    People are afraid of progression. They are afraid of the new. They are afraid of learning and opening their minds.

    Congratulations Zaha, for persisting amidst the cowardly masses. You are not alone.

  • Zender

    Soapbox…. you gotta leave out those drugs.

    Architects must reach the needs of people; people SHOULD NOT reach the architects needs.

    Get a life. Please?! And enough Zaha already. As you can see most people can’t even look at her stuff… architecture and design wise.

  • “For some reason, much of today’s society is unwilling to accept where we exist in the time line of humanity.”

    Well- where do we exist in the time line of humanity? I think that the Basel- decision has touched a well known problem of he avantgarde- it’s never the artist who influences society, it’s the society who influences the artist and the question who we are actually building for. Aren’t we architects always thankful for a site’s or city’s conflicts/problems that we can try to solve or at least use as a trigger for our design approach and pretent to have solved some conflict? I think her design didn’t try to adress any of the site’s present issues and the city’s problems and she did not try to tell the people a story like that.

  • Soapbox

    Drugs? Zender … if you can’t address the conversation then your post is useless.

    Reach the needs of the people?
    We’re commenting on photos. An aesthetic. I seriously doubt that aesthetic is what has driven Zaha’s design. But that’s what the public discourse is limited to … ala HGTV’s ‘wonderful’ influence.

    And as long as we’re limiting the conversation, lets go ahead and wipe away anything that might make the public uncomfortable about because they don’t understand. All architecture should be a regurgitation of what has already been done right? Nothing new and unfamiliar should ever be attempted.

    The modernists were obviously copying things that had already been done. The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians too right?

    You’re partially right filarete. Maybe Zaha’s design didn’t address the needs of the urban context or the people. Again, I wasn’t at the presentation, and I don’t know how the project was described. But unless you were, I don’t think any of us are equipped for that debate.

    But to judge a potential work of architecture as having merit or not, purely from renderings, makes absolutely no sense. And to call it ‘nurbs based rubbish’ just shows a degree of ignorance of someone who have obviously never actually investigated the rational or potential behind such processes.

    Airplanes and cars and products are all nurbs based rubbish too!

  • M Hrus

    airplanes and cars inherit their shape from the forces that act upon them. i am quite sure that Ferdinand Porsche wasn’t influenced by the capabilities/limitations of maya, but rather efficient use of material/form in the context of their use. you already knew that. i have a hard time following the need for a casino to take its cues from an amoeba. if you don’t mind by the way, could you please elaborate on the rational of such “processes”. if not may i recommend some summer reading? try Algorithmic Architecture by Kostas Terzidis. On the other hand, perhaps you have a better perspective from atop your grand soapbox?

  • rad

    who give a fuck?

  • John

    Soapbox, you are quite right. I will not comment about Zaha’s work in this case, but something is certainly to be said about the comments on the work. Airplanes and Cars most cetainly do not have to be shaped only by the forces upon them, although it is one of many parameters the “object” must satisfy. After all there is a social, interface, idelogy, materiality, and then who says that it is still a good car. Efficiency does not equal “Good” or vice versa.
    What is wrong with a Casino being an Amoeba? Kostas Terzidis at the end of the day writes experiences into a language that is a literal translation of algorithmic “things.” While I am not against Terzidis’ ideas per se, I believe the development of an idea has a new language undicated by previous words, usages, and approach to form.

  • fred


  • ko

    well…its switzerland…have a look at what gets produced at the ETH…students here are in general even more backwards than their teachers (kollhoff, märkli)…no wonder!!!

  • ebru

    hi,guys all of u?ı dıd not understand why no of urs not like hadid?ur words are for her projects or another thing?can it because of where she comes from?now,if there is someone likes her?ı want u a wish if u can do anything for me..?ı’ll wait..

  • ko… agree… eth is splitted imho there are great workes from some teacher and then there is the majority of swiss architecture… like märkli… or the backward processes by kollhoff… most swiss architects tending to do more and more minimalistic designs always searching for cubes with less and less details… so its refreshing to see “other” projects like this one! and even if im not a hadid-fan at all i really dig this one! it is a great project for the urban developement of basels barfüesser-platz (the place nearby the project) it would give structure and a functional idendity… now its rejected by folks who cant see more then their own interest… if the project were designed by HdM (who did a real bad project for the same place) most people in bael had voted otherwise… damn ignorance

  • mr mixed tune

    we do live in a society that is hiding behind walls. The walls are the boundaries of our world. People seem to be too fearful of going past, as one of you reply “past the classical era” of victorian architecture. The costs must be thought about to construct such work. Her work is simply ahead of the game in terms of vision and design. Even such buildings/designs for the Aquatic centre for London are inspiring by Zaha, she is simply arch-wonder woman. !!

  • HAG

    I agree with Soapbox

    and for the oens thaht think this architecture isnt functional or usefull. look at the plans, an tell me whats the deference between that proyects and “functional proyects”, today, isn’t impossible separate the functionally of the form, in the modernism, with the tecnologies used, thats don’t was possible.

    and, who, says, a casino needs looks like a casino, who says how a casino looks like?. isn’t written in a holy bible…..

    and im shure tahta the almost people that comment here, don have idea about aechitecture and form

  • distroe

    And you, HAG, you’re among the ‘oens’ who don’t know English.
    Leaving behind the question if Zaha’s design was appropriate or not, architecture design is simply not aircraft or car design. It’s about site and perception, because a building should never move at 200 mph. Instead, will be watched from many angles.
    Btw, the weirdest architecture – see Zaha’s works – it’s not necessarily the fittest for a solid textured city. Not all that is slanted or oblique is state of the art,neither revolutionary.

  • Quite Intriguing! These design look as if they are defying gravity.

  • Cleo

    No matter what Zaha’s she is the mother of architecture
    She deserves to be respected, she is unique and plays with forms and shapes ,she things out of the box
    Before commenting something about creation , people needs to understand that its not a easy task .
    She is amazing ……