- Collaborators:Jonathan Hermann, Claudio Meletta, Martin Risch
- Structural Engineering:Hans-Peter Frei, Frei Ingenieure
- Carpenter:Hürzeler Holzbau AG
- Client:launchlabs (Schweiz) GmbH
Text description provided by the architects. The main assembly hall of the former Burckhardt machine factory in Basel, Switzerland, has been used as an event space over the years. With a new tenant (launchlabs.ch) the structure is now additionally requested to serve as a multifunctional working environment.
The goal is to create a space, offering countless possibilities – co-working, regular office workstations, areas for casual and cultural activities, workshops – all while still being able to host bigger events. The main intervention consist in the insertion of an autonomous wooden installation – a house within a house.
Amongst others it contains the reception and is therefore situated at the primary entry of the hall. In order to preserve a maximum of flexibility on the ground floor, most of the construction is elevated and suspended on wooden beams, leaving only the wardrobe and a small carped-claded meeting cell downstairs.
Upstairs two meeting spaces, differentiated in size and orientation, form the main body of the construction. On top you can find a deck offering an area for informal meetings, pausing and laid back activities. All being closely under- neath the hall roof, usually only experienced from far.
All of the construction is conceived in one single material: laminated veneer lumber. The expression of the structure results directly from the applied building techniques, all the joinery is visible, the concept understandable.
Different external circumstances influenced the design in interesting ways:
- Because of the main access to the hall being a regular sized door, the whole structure had to be developed as an addition
of prefabricated pieces, small enough to be manipulated by hand and easily assembled on site.
- Since the installation is conceived for an indoor space, the project was liberated from environmental requirements and constraints. Details were invented, mechanisms kept simple and materials raw.
Thus the house within the house gets a strong character, on the one hand adapting to the charms of the existing, on the other hand emancipating itself through its materialization. An element capable of adding to the identity of the location.