Grossratssaal Basel-Stadt 1st prize
visualization: Andreas Buschmann

Redesign of the Grossratsaal Basel-Stadt

Redesign of the Furnishings of the Grossratssaal (grand council hall) Basel, 2008
Anarchitekton GmbH wins invited Competition

The basis for the project proposal for the redesign reducing the seating capacity of the Grossratssaal to 100, is provided by the hall's atmosphere with its furnishings dating from 1904. The geometrical structure of the semicircle is maintained. The tiers, tables and seats are aligned with the existing lowest podium - the arena - and gradationally rise up to the entrances of the hall. Furniture typology, material selection and the construction of the elements have been interpreted as the continuation of the existing furnishings. The mounted table rows are made from massive, matt-varnished oak and fixed at the edges o f the tiers. The table front covers are incorporated as mortised constructions between the massive bearing elements which feature discreet blending contours. Underneath the hatches that bear the massive brass seat numbers and are flush-fitted into the table-tops, the electronic voting fixtures are located.

Each seat features a lockable drawer for Iaptop and folders, as well as a socket. The new, mobile chairs are designed in the style of the present parliament armchairs, yet adjusted to meet the ergonomic requirements. The upholstery is matched with the colors of the ceiling frescoes in a greenish shade and is additionally designed to contribute to the improvement of the difficult room acoustics.

lnherent parts of the concept are four artistic interventions which thematize politics as social interaction through the representation of different networks. The bearing elements, it was considered, should bear the field and street names which are represented in the Grosser Rat (great council) through the members of parliament. The Basel-specific “Politwörterbuch" (political dictionary) serves as master for a typographical intervention on the back of the chairs. The chair, as mobile and moving object, becomes the random generator for local political word constellations and contexts. ln the arena, the place where issues are verbally addressed, language as central human instrument of politics is represented in the flooring through a meshwork of 1000 quotations from relevant regional discourses. Basel's position in the global network as industrial and commercial city is visualized by way of a table top tarsia.

The planning and construction credit for the project was rejected on January 7th. 2009 by the Grosser Rat (great council) and the project was sent back to

Baudepartement des Kantons Basel Stadt

Concept and Planning
Anarchitekton GmbH
Andreas Wenger
Monika Schatte
Stefanie Truttmann

Matthias Frey, Artist
Roll Niederhauser, Writer
Christian Stauffenegger, visual design

Christen, Baukosten- und Projektmanagement
Andreas Buschmann

Wohngeist Basel
Steiger Partner
Ed. BorerAG