|Diener & Diener - Switzerland|
Development Warteck Brewery Basel
Grenzacherstr. 62-64 / Fischerweg 6-10
1992 - 1996
On the right bank of the river Rhine the former Warteck brewery rises out of the edification of Basel. In this regard, the brewery is some kind of a counterpart
to the minster, which towers over the left bank area of the city of Basel. The brewery, which was established in 1836, became one of the foremost landmarks of
the city. The buildings of the Warteck brewery were constructed between 1890 and 1935. This ensemble became a familiar and popular feature of the Basel cityscape.
After the production works were relocated in 1991, the future of the industrial facility became uncertain. An investor planned to replace the complex with a perimeter block,
consisting of residential and commercial buildings. According to these plans, the striking ensemble was to be demolished, with exception of the landmarked corner building
which formerly housed the brewery pub and today is the home of the Restaurant Brauerei. Although the population turned up against the project, the investor did not want to
give up the project. As a consequence of these conflicting interests, Diener & Diener were commissioned to submit an alternative urban-planning concept. The concept by
Diener & Diener intended a a large range of urban functions on this site, among them were apartments, studios, gastronomy, events, service providers and even
small production industries. In this concept, the historic buildings should play a major role. Various buildings as the malt silo, the storeroom for spent grains, the water-tower
and the brewing house were to be remodelled for non-commercial uses by a foundation that is active in cultural and creative respect. The revised scheme intended a combination
of new constructions and renovations, so that spaces for cultural and commercial activities could be realized. The brewery buildings were not included in the cost and density
calculations, so that they were not subject to market conditions. As an inovative solution, the buildings were offered as a permanent lease at inexpensive rates to a collective of artists.
The new buildings by Diener & Diener are to be considered as a complement to the historic brewery buildings. The two irregular volumes are each five stories high.
They maximize the allowed surface area on the building plot, and create a high density. This high density not only increases the urban quality of the site, but also was
necessary to make this solution economically feasible. Water tower and malt silo are still higher than the new development, and remain landmarks in the cityscape,
visible across the nearby river Rhine. The two new buildings have different appearances. A mixed use building is located along the main street. This greenish-grey block
contains retail spaces on the ground floor, offices around a light well above, while the two top floors are intended for housing for elderly people. The facade of this building
consists of concrete elements, making it a counterpart to the historic buildings. On the other side, the exterior of the residential building is made of brick, giving it a common
feature with the historic buildings. The residential building contains 82 apartements which are arranged around a courtyard and twelve studios which face the square next
to the water tower. While the studios are accessed directly from the square, the apartments are are spread on six entrances. Additionally, several separated roof gardens
are available to the residents on a rental basis, while the corners of the terrace are reserved as common spaces.