Basel barracks

Contemporary culture in an old barracks

The church and floor plan of the structure give it away: this was once a monastery. The existing buildings point more to the barracks that were operated here until 1966. Today, Basle barracks are the epitome of an alternative cultural scene and a lively site of encounter and district centre.

Old and new are well linked here and discreetly intertwined. Functionality goes hand-in-hand with preserving the old structure. The riding arena can stage contemporary culture as if to the manor born and is well suited for productions of the various disciplines that have taken up residence here. The stables were turned into a foyer while the restaurant and bar with their austere almost bare furnishings and their long tables are somewhat reminiscent of the monastic atmosphere that once prevailed here. The artistic, highly functional wooden constructions stemming from its times as a barracks, engender atmosphere wherever you go.

The largest change but one which is not visible from the outside, was to create the ancillary rooms which were sorely needed. For this, the entire riding arena was given a new basement.


Contact person Jürg Toffol
Client Canton of Basle Town, Building Department, Planning Office
Architect Itten+Brechbühl AG
Competition 1st place 1998
Planning 1999-2004
Start of construction 2000
Start of operation 2002
Capacity 800-1000 persons
Floor area 3700 m2
Photos Ruedi Walti, Basel