Selective competition in dialogue procedure for retail, offices, cultural use and housing with three high-rise buildings at the SBB train station in Basel, 2022-2023
The Nauentor development has set itself ambitious goals. In place of the Postreiter building, which is currently largely inaccessible to the public, a public space is to be created as a link between the railroad station, Nauenstrasse and Solothurnerstrasse – a lively, urban and well-connected urban building block. The site’s accessibility and connection to the existing urban fabric are of central importance. A new development of this area must aim to create added value for the city, its residents and the public space.
We have formulated the following theses as a starting point for the creation of high-quality architecture for the city and the urban space at this location:
Urban space is outdoor space: the Nauentor development can only unfold its full potential as a public urban building block if a variety of crossings are offered through the site that function as a continuation of the urban environment. In order to be perceived as a public urban space, it is imperative that these spaces are designed as continuous outdoor spaces.
Urban public life takes place on the ground: The north-south crossing over the tracks can only become attractive as a publicly frequented place if the difference in height to the street is as little as possible, and thus takes place at the height level of 5m above the train tracks.
A city consists of the sum of its parts: The project offers the opportunity to rethink the urban structure of this important inner-city location. The Nauentor development should not be conceived as a coherent mega-project, but rather as an urban mosaic of individual components that are embedded in the urban space and enhance and continue the existing public space.
Based on these theses, the project is divided into three components that are interwoven via public outdoor spaces:
1. Urban building block Centralbahngasse – an urban repair on a metropolitan scale
The building block corresponds to an urban design that cuts diagonally through the new Centralbahngasse into the block set with two towers. Together with the diagnostic center and the high-density mixed use, a short but lively metropolitan lane with a specialized retail offering is created here.
2. Postreiter platform with Postreitergasse – a hybrid campus with public appeal
This stacked timber building is built on top of the existing platform. Its airy and porous shape makes the building legible from afar as a “bridge construction” and gives it its own identity. The generic structure can be used flexibly and offers space for a wide variety of uses. The “Magistrale” specified by the development plan runs as a public street on the level of 5m above the tracks.
3. Gundeldingen surroundings of the SBB high-rise – an interface to the neighborhood
The SBB high-rise with Gundeldingerplatz is conceived as an independent development together with its surroundings. The high-rise remains very open for use. It functions as a kind of urban hinge and at the same time is oriented towards two different public green spaces.