Architect in ChargeMiquel del Río & Hans Focketyn
Text description provided by the architects. Parterre One is in Kaserne Basel, a heritage protected ensemble in the heart of Basel. Kaserne used to be military barracks and has been converted into a cultural hub for the last 50 years, since the army left. Our client had a new vision for his corner: he had a restaurant, a bar, and a venue that were next to each other but never worked together. Our mission was to make one cultural and leisure pole with the three of them.
Within this frame the project became an architectural geode: an existing building with refreshed facades and a surprising interior around a thunderbolt gallery.
It was obvious to us that the patio had to become a new central space: a meeting room of the different activities (eating, drinking, listening). The patio had always been there but was filled up to the point of becoming a hidden space: there is even a small tree that survived the different phases that now sits happily as a protagonist.
We cleaned the patio and furnished it with a new dark-colored concrete landscape, not only solving the height difference to the existing floor but also offering sitting spaces. This new discovered space has a cozy touch and sitting benches made with tree trunks, just cut at the right height.
The bar needed to be split into two to create a wide smoking lounge and a small bar to order your cocktails (by the way, some of the best in town). This smoking lounge is a continuation of the patio, covered with a winter-garden roof that can be opened in summer. The vegetation flows along the space creating a green oasis with wood furniture, including a custom-made wood bench that becomes the star of the night’s conversations.
The new venue has very high acoustical standards and provides a new venue for concerts and theater. Its characteristic gallery with broken edge that become meeting niches gives a new strong image, ideal for its use. The upper floor is hung from the new structure, creating a column-free space in the ground floor: almost as if the ceiling were floating. In the upper floor, a custom-made element solves the railing, offers a sitting bench, and ends in an extra bar.
The stage becomes the protagonist of the space, using the full height of the empty building and providing a very good acoustic to the musicians and audience alike. The lively line of the gallery is reinforced with a series of bulbs that extend behind the stage, making both the audience and the musicians part of the same experience, bringing them together.
As the building is under heritage protection, the shape of the building was given, couldn't be changed, creating a sort of "found space" that, nevertheless, interacts stunningly well with the new geometries inserted.
This specific volume made very difficult to reach the high acoustical performance needed for its use. However, it was achieved with the careful insertion of absorption in curtains, vertical elements and projected cellulose in the ceiling: a new shape that plays with the gallery giving unexpected effects.
This venue sits next to housing blocks and requires a very good acoustic isolation. This was achieved with the existing thick walls and an 8cm layer of shot concrete. The concrete was left rough and very much defines the character of the upper floor, working together with the dark cellulose and in opposition to the red, shiny fix furniture. As small volcanoes, thickening of the shot concrete become isolated lightening points, creating some sort of constellations.
In the lower floor, metal elements define the space: a hexagonal perforated sheet makes the ceiling and row metal elements define the bar. Upstairs the color is given with the custom-made element, here is the floor that assumes the responsibility of warming up the space. On top of the bar, designed metal elements recall the Taraxacums of Castiglione, protagonists of the double space, while giving different light conditions at different moments of the night.
The entrance spaces and the two toilets become independent worlds with a singular materiality: the entrance is a dark space crossed by a ray of light, the man’s toilet is completely in metal, including an inox mirror, and the women’s toilet is a shiny pocket with indirect light.
The specific geometries of all the elements work as a symphony. They create a sequence of spaces (from the "easy" comfortable outside patio to the "fancy" representative venue) with simple naked materials (concrete, wood, metal) and can easily be transformed for concerts, banquets, drinking, or small cinemas. In this case the constrictions (a certain geometry, a certain outside materiality) became allies in the project, generating different spaces (outside, semi-outside, under the gallery, in the double space, on the gallery...) that provide multiple experiences in the same building, just like the client wanted.
Product Description: Shot Concrete: This venue sits next to housing blocks and requires a very good acoustic isolation. This was achieved with the existing thick walls and an 8cm layer of shot concrete. The concrete was left rough and very much defines the character of the upper floor, working together with the dark cellulose and in opposition to the red, shiny fix furniture. As small volcanoes, thickening of the shot concrete become isolated lightening points, creating some sort of constellations.