Green Light For $82 Million Fondation Beyeler Expansion

Architect Peter Zumthor will design the new building.

The Renzo Piano designed home of the Fondation Beyeler, in Riehen, Switzerland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Fondation Beyeler has appointed the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor to oversee the institution’s $84 million expansion.

The foundation first quietly announced its intention to expand back in February 2015. But since then it has negotiated the complex acquisition of an adjacent 9,500 square meter plot of land, and has successfully applied for a building permit to allow the planned expansion to proceed.

Zumthor, who was selected by an international committee to design the new structure, will construct the building on the previously privately-owned Iselin Weber Park in Riehen, north east of Basel. As with its current building, the park will be made accessible to the public.

Expressing his delight at the appointment, Zumthor said in a statement, “The sky over the city of Basel and its surroundings are the landscapes of my youth. It warms my heart that I may build an important building here.”

Inside the Fondation Beyeler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Inside the Fondation Beyeler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The new building will reportedly be somewhat smaller than the foundation’s current Renzo Piano designed home, and will house a multifunctional space showing a variety of different works.

The Fondation Beyeler has indicated that all aspects of the expansion will be privately financed and that donors have pledged CHF 50 million ($51.3 million) towards the projects. It has singled out the Wyss Foundation, the Daros Collection, and the Stephan Schmidheiny family for laying the financial foundations for the ambitious project. The overall cost of construction and operation of the expanded space has been estimated at CHF 80 million ($82.2 million).

“The interaction between man, nature, art, and architecture is a cornerstone of the success of the Fondation Beyeler and was also essential for the development of the award-winning museum building by Renzo Piano,” the Fondation Beyeler’s director Sam Keller said in a statement. “Peter Zumthor will bring sensibility and experience to this special place to realize a building of excellent quality.”

The Fondation Beyeler is one of  Switzerland’s most popular cultural destinations. According to a report, it attracted over 481,000 visitors in 2015.


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