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The Kunstmuseum Basel is 100 percent made in… Basel!

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

The renowned Kunstmuseum Basel has reopened its doors with a brand new extension building.

As a keen pedestrian, I have walked past the construction of this extension during all its phases. And my un-savvy architectural eye is certainly pleased with the aesthetic appeal of the outside façade, with its different shades of grey bricks and those enormous windows.

The Kunstmuseum Basel is home to seven centuries of Western art, spanning the 15th to the 21st centuries. The extension will be used specifically for major special exhibitions, although it will also provide more presentation space for the museum’s permanent collection.

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

The Kunstmuseum is literally 100 percent made in Basel

The new extension was designed by Basel based architects Emanuel Christ and Christoph Gantenbein. The building was actually co-financed by a local benefactor who donated 50 million francs in addition to the real estate.

The city of Basel allocated the remaining 50 million francs.

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

Inside the extension, there is a majestic marble staircase that contributes to a sense of grandeur. It connects the four stories of differently sized exhibition rooms. The spacious halls can accommodate quite large installations, and the building provides around one third of the floor space of the museum as a whole.

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016

The inaugural exhibition is entitled Sculpture on the Move 1946-2016. It portrays the ever more abstract forms of sculpture over the years, and its closeness to everyday life.

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin
Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

Apart from the construction of the new extension, renovation work has been done on the main museum building. An underground corridor connects the two wings which are located on opposite sides of Dufourstrasse.

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

The architects are keen to stress that the two buildings "form a unified presence in the urban space." Moreover, given that the new extension's roof line is level with that of the existing Kunstmuseum edifice, Emanuel Christ suggests there is a "dialogue at equal eye level between the two buildings."

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

More information

Kunstmuseum Basel - Idit Kobrin

(All photography copyright Idit Kobrin)


Sam is a freelance communications consultant in Basel. She is the author of three books on self-development topics and considers herself to be a world citizen.

On her days off, Sam can often be found hanging out with the furry residents at the cat shelter in Muttenz.

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