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Fondation Beyler commissions expansion to Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner

8 months ago

The architect Peter Zumthor (born in Basel in 1943) has been chosen to build the Fondation Beyeler’s extension. “The sky above Basel, the city and its surroundings–those are the landscapes of my youth. It is heart-warming to be able to design a major building here.” is Zumthor’s pleased response.

“We are delighted to have secured one of the world’s best architects as a partner for the project”, says Hansjörg Wyss, the President of the Beyeler-Stiftung and the Evaluation Board, as well as the project’s initiator.

The extension building will be constructed on the previously private land of the Iselin-Weber Park in Riehen/Basel, which will be made accessible to the public, in the same way as is the park directly surrounding the Fondation Beyeler.

An international board composed of prominent figures unanimously selected the project submitted by the award-winning architect Peter Zumthor. He brings with him great experience in the design of museum buildings, such as the Kunsthaus Bregenz, the Kolumba Kunstmuseum in Cologne, and currently the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Zumthor became known to a wider public through the Therme Vals spa complex and the Swiss pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover.

Peter Zumthor has earned worldwide recognition for his work. Simultaneously reserved and remarkable, Zumthor’s buildings appeal to all the senses. With its masterly handling of materials, and its subtle interaction with the different aspects of individual sites and their history, his work testifies to the role of architecture as an enriching experience in our world.

“The interaction of human beings, nature, art and architecture is one of the keystones of the Fondation Beyeler’s success, and was also essential for the development of Renzo Piano’s award-winning museum. Peter Zumthor possesses the sensitivity and experience that are needed to create a building of outstanding quality in this very special location”, is how the Fondation Beyeler’s Director, Sam Keller, has commented on the decision.

The extension project (acquisition of the land and existing buildings, funding of the new building, and operating and maintenance costs for the first ten years) is being privately financed. An amount of CHF 50 million has already been firmly committed. Generous donations from the Wyss Foundation and the Daros Collection of the Stephan Schmidheiny family provide the cornerstone for the project’s realisation. Overall, the extension building and its launch are expected to cost CHF 80 million.

Riehen and the Basel region will be enriched by another extraordinary building for local inhabitants and visitors.

The project by Atelier Peter Zumthor & Partner will be presented in late autumn/winter after further work has been done on it.

Claudia Malfitano

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