Dezeen Magazine

Extension Kunstmuseum by Christ & Gantenbein

Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein have been awarded first prize in a competition to design an extension to the Kunstmuseum in Basel.

The design was chosen from 23 international participants including proposals from Zaha Hadid Architects, Jean Nouvel and Tadao Ando, among others.

Diener & Diener Architekten, also from Switzerland, were awarded second place and Japanese architects SANAA third place.

An exhibition of all the competition entries is currently on show until 20 December at Maiengasse 7/11, Basel, Switzerland.

Here's more info from Christ & Gantenbein:


The winners for the architecture competition Extension Kunstmuseum in Basel have been announced. The project of the Swiss architects Christ & Gantenbein was awarded 1st prize.

Among the 23 participated teams were five Pritzker laureates as Peter Zumthor, Zaha Hadid, Rafael Moneo, Tadao Ando and Jean Nouvel.

Click for larger image.

The awarded teams are:
1st prize:
Christ & Gantenbein, CH

2nd prize:
Diener & Diener Architekten, CH

3rd prize:
SANAA K. Sejima R. Nishizawa, J

Click for larger image.

4th prize:
ARGE HHF Architekten, CH + Ai Weiwei, China

5th prize:
jessenvollenweider, CH with Kuehn Malvezzi, D

honorable mention:
Made IN, CH

The exhibition showing all competition entries runs until Sunday December 20th, 2009; Maiengasse 7/11, CH–Basel.

Initial Position and Objective
The Basel Kunstmuseum or Museum of Fine Arts is considered one of the leading art museums of the world. It is a museum with a rich tradition and a top-quality art collection that has continued to develop since the 17th century, is innovative and was and is at the very front of contemporary art production. Thus, a unique thread of suspense emerged that spans art from the 15th to the 21st centuries.

The museum built on St. Alban-Graben in 1936 is the main building and was continually renovated and remodelled from the 1990s till 2007. In 1980, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst or Museum of Contemporary Art on St. Alban-Rheinweg was established as a branch entirely dedicated to contemporary art and renovated in 2005. Since 2004, the Laurenz Building directly adjacent to the museum houses the library, administrative offices, and the University of Basel Department of Art History.

Historically, the Basel Kunsthalle or Art Hall was the venue for changing exhibitions and the Kunstmuseum – apart from some periodical exceptions – the venue of the main collection. Today, however, solely an attractive exhibition programme and venue guarantee a museum remains popular with the public and survives among the leading art museums on an international scale. Ever since 2002, two large special shows are being organized each year, complemented by 8-10 smaller exhibitions held in the main building, above all at the Kupferstichkabinett, the Department of Prints and Drawings, and at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst. As, originally, there was no intention to hold large exhibitions at the Kunstmuseum, there is currently no respective infrastructure. Time and again, entire collections have to be repositioned or stored, causing a  permanently provisional state of affairs. Besides, not all of the more recent forms of art can easily be exhibited in the otherwise ideal Beaux Arts halls of the museum. Apart from the temporary use of the halls of the collection for special shows, space for the continually growing collection has become increasingly scarce.

The targeted vision is to enhance the Kunstmuseum into a venue radiating tradition while remaining a dynamic and open institution of international renown with strong local roots, too. Not only the collection but also the travelling exhibits and special shows of the museum are consistently on a world-class level that is to be consolidated and expanded, in particular to address a younger public. Because of a generous gift to the Canton of Basel-Stadt, there is now a unique opportunity to realize the requisite spatial expansion with a new building on the adjacent lot of the Burghof property.

Dr. Bernhard Mendes Bürgi, Direktor Kunstmuseum Basel