Exhibition building

Architects: Jaques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron, Basel
Designed: 1989/90
Construction: 1991/92
Planning and realization: Josef Peter Meier-Scupin, Munich
Exhibition space design: in collaboration with the artist Helmut Federle
Client: Ingvild Goetz

The exhibition building of the Sammlung Goetz was designed by the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in 1989/90 and completed in 1993. The elongated two-storey gallery has an additional mezzanine located in a park-like garden. 
The simple structure, which appears almost to float almost weightlessly, rests on a translucent pedestal. The facade of wood, glass and aluminum is characterized by a strictly geometric structure. A flat roof with a continuous band of windows closes the building on top. In order to create optimal conditions for the presentation of artworks with a minimal floor plan, the spatial volumes were intelligently interlocked so that two nearly identical, daylit exhibition floors were created.

The entrance area is accessible via glass doors from both from the street side and the garden. From there, stairs lead to the building’s upper and lower floors. Diffuse glare-free daylight falls through the circumferential band of windows made of frosted glass in the exhibition rooms.

The base for this functional yet refined solution is an open reinforced concrete rectangular container, measuring 8 x 24 x 3 meters, which was sunk to its upper edge in the ground. Resting on it are two reinforced concrete tubes, which support a wooden construction of posts and transoms. This creates the exterior impression of a floating “box” of birch wood. Inside, the bricked and simply plastered walls, in interaction with the flush-fitted windows, create a harmonious space.

This early work of Herzog & de Meuron is an icon of contemporary architecture. It was their first exhibition building and made them internationally known. The collector Ingvild Goetz had originally planned it as a private collector’s gallery, but shortly after its inauguration in 1993 it was opened to the public. In 2014, she donated the building and land to the Free State of Bavaria, which continues to use it as an exhibition space for contemporary art in accordance with the collector’s wish.

BASE 103

In 2004, the Sammlung Goetz’s exhibition space was expanded with an underground extension, which was initially built to present media art. Enlargement became necessary as the collection’s focus shifted to films, videos and installations, which have different presentation requirements than the existing spaces created for painting and sculpture could provide.

The redesign of the storage spaces created by Josef Peter Meier-Scupin was executed by Wolfgang Brune in close consultation with Herzog & de Meuron. In the simplicity of their materials and format, they remain committed to the Swiss architects’original architectural idea for the exhibition building.

Visitors enter BASE 103 via a narrow passageway. Located on the right side is a small film room. Continuing along the passage, a few steps lead up to a spacious room, which can accommodate virtually all types of projection. It can be easily partitioned and allows elaborate presentations of the collection. At the other end of the room is a small, narrow room.