Herzog & De Meuron went for a historic style when they clad the Stadtcasino Basel extension with Accoya® sustainable timber. The concert hall reopened in 2020 featuring an expansion with 1,100m2 of Accoya® wood cladding inspired by the look of the original building’s neo-Baroque stone architecture.
The Stadtcasino Basel Stehlin concert hall, one of Europe’s most important concert halls had been completed with a small tacked on extensions in the 1930s due to budget constraints. Herzog & De Meuron took on the restoration, preservation, and new construction of the west half of the hall in 2012. The project re-envisioned the concert hall as a stand-alone building and therefore planned to add an extension that looks like a natural completion of the original design to create the new public space that includes an entrance, foyer, backstage area, and other facilities.
Matching Facade Styles
The architects challenged engineers Pirmin Jung AG to match the style of the original main building in the natural, sustainable Accoya® wooden cladding. The east side’s historic stone masonry was pared with cleverly profiled and joined Accoya® wood for its CHF 1.15m facade. To match the new timber-clad facade to the existing architecture, three layers of grey coating was supplied by Keim Farben, which was intensively brushed by the wood supplier to achieve the desired wood structure.
Because of the dimensional stability of Accoya® timber cladding and the way it works with coatings -retaining its unmistakable look and feel of real wood grain-; it was the ideal material to profile, join and coat to match the original styling from a distance yet still offer a surprise up close: the discovery that the material is actually not stone but finely crafted and detailed wooden cladding. Paying homage to the old yet marking its own new territory keeping the style consistent.
Accoya®’s durability and dimensional stability is drastically improved by an acetylation process that penetrates throughout the timber without adding toxic elements or chemicals that could leach out. This means that even the cut faces of the boards could be safely visible, exposed, and coated, allowing the precise work and clean, detailed finish that this project required without compromising on either aesthetics or durability.
A 'test wall' was built using 17 different profiles of Accoya® sustainable timber to monitor the performance of the wood and coating over a two-year period. This proved that the look and performance were suitable before the construction was completed. The resulting building has two very different finishes on its old and new halves looking like a single, complete and beautiful design with subtle distinguishing characteristics.