|Diener & Diener - Switzerland|
UBS Training and Conference Center
Viaduktstrasse 33, Basel
1985 - 1994
This building, used as a training and conference centre, was commissioned by the Schweizerischer Bankverein. After transformations and merges in the banking sector,
the company is today known as UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland). The building, designed by Diener & Diener is located near the main station of Basel, on a site where a brewery had formerly
been situated. The building lot is of particular irregular topography. The environment is defined by various conditions. The heavy traffic Viaduktstrasse is located to
the north, on the opposite site the building borders the vast railway yards. Additionally a tall retaining wall border the plateau which lies above a steep valley.
A continuous base, just a little below street level, is provided for the building in this irregular topography. A softly curved wall faces the railway lines, where the trains
pass by at a lower level. The whole complex consists of three long rectangluar volumes, running from north to south. They are connected by perpendicular volumes.
These connecting wings contain foyers, staircases and utility rooms. The building structure results in a grid, which forms seven courtyards. Each of them has its own
character. This layout with the courtyards refers to the typology of monasteries - in fact one of the intrinsic qualities of these enclosed outdoor spaces is their adequacy
as places for concentration and contemplation. Another quality of the building are surprising lines of sight. They allow views from various rooms to the courtyards,
from courtyard to couryard or through the building to the outside. On the exterior brick is the dominating material of the facades. A certain percentage of the bricks was
fired at a higher temperatur, so that they got a different colour and superficie. These bricks are spread all aver the building, so that the elevations have the appearance
of a mosaic with different colours. The walls of the connecting volumes facing the street, the railway and the courtyards are plastered with a ligth grey stucco with a
slightly silvery appearance. The entrance to the building is located on the Viaduktstrasse and is marked by a fountain in dark natural stone.