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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
(All photography copyright Idit Kobrin)