Cooperative Housing Westfeld

1st Prize
Invited Competition, Basel, 2022
Housing cooperative wohnen & mehr
Realization 2022-2026


Living at the yard

With the construction of the head building, the residential block on the Westfeld site, which is built around a communal residential courtyard, is completed. This last building block of the housing cooperative wohnen & mehr forms the urban development prelude to Hegenheimerstrasse and marks the end of the long residential courtyard. 

In order to also give the small courtyard of the head building an appropriate quality, an opening extending from the first to the fifth floor is proposed on the east side. From the outside, the image of a closed building volume in the sense of the master plan remains. From the inside, visual references to the foothills of the green belt are created, from which all apartments benefit. In addition to the much better air flow, the quality of light in the courtyard is also significantly increased by the opening. Planted with lush vegetation, this is a pleasant, identity-creating and communal place of arrival, through which the residents spread out into the apartments, most of which are accessed via balconies. Creepers grow up the facades, emphasizing the natural atmosphere in the courtyard, which is characterized by natural wood. 

Generous two-story entrance halls mark the access from the residential courtyard, and reduce the visual distance to the 1st floor, which is located above a mezzanine floor, where the apartments of the head building begin. Next to the entrance hall are the washrooms, which are lit by glass blocks and interior windows. This creates inviting and communicative arrival points that establish diverse visual relationships between inside and outside. 

The access balconies are generously dimensioned, and form front areas of the respective apartments equipped with benches. Living in a multi-story apartment can also feel like owning your own home. Areas that are not escape routes are marked on the floor and used for private or communal furniture. Facing the greenbelt are larger areas that can be used for spontaneous neighborhood gatherings and promote community.

The facades facing the courtyard are characterized by the diverse residential typologies of the development. Towards Hegenheimerstrasse, 2 maisonette typologies are stacked on top of each other. Thus, even the apartments on the 1st floor benefit from the better lighting on the floor above. Towards the inner courtyard, the result is an image of terraced houses placed side by side, which radiate a high degree of homeliness and create privacy for the bedrooms within the typology. Towards the street, there is a large order of the façade proportion, by emphasizing the maisonette storey with fixed parapet elements.

The storey apartments also react specifically to the location on the inner courtyard, which is open on one side. The part of the building between the two courtyards is occupied by two 4 1/2-room apartments.  The opening also gives these residents a view of the green belt and Ensisheimerstrasse – a quality that is further enhanced by a glazed bay window element that slides into the courtyard.