Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron design and build a lot in their native Basel. Back in 2002, they won a tender for two multifunctional complexes in the Gundeldingen quarter adjacent to the central station. The customer was one of the largest and most powerful landowners in the country - the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB). The Südpark project ("South Park") was successfully completed back in 2012, the turn of the Meret Oppenheim skyscraper came only in 2016. She, like the street where the new house will appear, bears the name of the representative of surrealism who lived in Basel, the author of the famous "Fur Tea Appliance". The construction is planned to be completed by the end of 2018.
The two sections are separated by a pedestrian bridge leading to the station through the railway tracks, and both buildings are designed not only to change the life of the area, but are also considered as a conditional “gateway” to the city. For their new project, the architects boldly chose a high-rise composition, as if composing a tower from several regular rectangular volumes. This solution made it possible to better fit the 80-meter volume into the rather low surrounding buildings, as well as to create various terraces, ledges and even voids, which complicate and diversify both external and internal spaces. A restaurant is planned on the ground floor, office premises will be located above, including the Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen TV and radio studio (the largest German-speaking media holding in Switzerland), and floors 6-24 will occupy 153 apartments: from one-room to five-room. The total area of the building will be 30,285 m2.
But the main distinguishing feature of the complex will be in the multi-layered solution of the facades, which, again, is designed to help build the relationship between the individual and the general. The role of the upper layer, which forms the actual volumes, is played by a system of movable sunscreen shutters. Behind them are hidden balconies - according to the architects' idea, a kind of buffer zone between private space and the city. As a result, the rigid forms of the volumes are blurred, and the facades acquire depth. The building will not only be perceived differently from different points, but will literally come to life, constantly changing depending on the position of the sun, the direction of the wind, just the mood and habits of each of the tenants, who close and open the shutters of their balcony.