Competition for the BRCCH, Basel, Switzerland

Our contribution to the open competition for the new office building of the Botnar Research Centre for Child Health (BRCCH) was developed by VOSS Architects 2021 in collaboration with Primin Jung, Gruner Generalplanung, Amstein Walthert and Rapp Infra.

The site for new office building is located at a prominent street intersection in a homogeneous urban district in the centre of Basel. The proposal responds to the irregular plot with a regular compact building. The functional spaces and ancillary areas are arranged along the wall facing the neighbouring building and form a rectangle with a single-flight stair core in front of it and a regular supporting structure. The remaining area is defined by the street lines and informs the building volume. The new building is set back in the east by terraces on the two uppermost floors, but retains its clear form through the continuous façade structure and pergolas at the rooftop. With its proportions, the proposal forms a fitting accent within the urban fabric. At the same time, it completes the surrounding block of houses.

The ground floor accommodates the entrance foyer, centrally located between the reception, the adjoining offices and the large meeting room. From there, the central staircase can be reached in the axis of the entrance. At the rear of the ground floor are the offices for the secretaries and IT support.

Along the north wall of the new building, comparable to a spine, are the supporting rooms for the building. The offices are arranged around the stair core as a flexible spatial layer in a U-shape following the outer sides of the façade. This layout allows for maximum lighting and use of the floors as large open continuous spaces as well as an economical load-bearing system.

The offices of the research groups are located on floors 01-03 and 05. The professor’s offices are located on the 4th floor. On the 6th floor is the large common room with kitchenette and roof terrace. The multifunctional room next to it can be connected to the common room. Further interconnectable and more representative meeting rooms are planned for the top floor. The roof terrace facing east extends the rooms to the outside.

The project for the new BRCCH building is designed as a timber construction with a photovoltaic façade on a double concrete basement and with a concrete stair core. The appearance of the new building is characterised by these materials. They are used according to their functions and determine the aesthetics. The materiality of the façade reflects BRCCH's aim for a design with a strong focus on sustainability. The design takes up the materiality of the neighbouring public buildings and develops it further in a contemporary manner. The plinth and office floors above are constructed in dark grey colour. The two upper floors are planned in a lighter grey, similar to an attic or roof storey, and relate the neighbouring residential buildings.

The materials in the interior are chosen to be robust and durable, and at the same time warm and resistant. The stairwell, walls and undersides of the ceilings, as well as the stairs themselves, are finished in exposed concrete. On the office floors, the exterior walls are clad with clay boards, the ceilings with a combination of acoustic and clay boards. Together with the raw wooden parquet floors they give the building a warm and friendly character.


© VOSS Architects 2022