Herzog & de Meuron

Signal Box . Basel

Herzog & de Meuron . photos: © Nelson Garrido . + archdaily

On the edge of railway tracks, next to the new railway engine depot and the old walls of the Wolf-Gottesacker (cemetery) from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there is a tall, copper volume containing the signal box.

On six floors, there is mainly electronic equipment for the control of points and signals to the depot and the related tracks, as well as a few workstations and their ancillary spaces.
The building's concrete shell is insulated on the exterior and wrapped with approximately 20 cm-wide copper strips that are twisted at certain places in order to admit daylight.

As a result of the copper coiling, the building acts as a Faraday cage protecting the electronic equipment inside from unexpected external effects. At the same time, it is also able to express vividly these physical qualities. Contrary to conventional industrial buildings, its scale is open and indeterminate (floor divisions are not recognizable), so that the configuration is able to take up a specific relation with the adjacent field of railway tracks.
Herzog & de Meuron, 1995

Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Harry Gugger
Project Architect: Philippe Fürstenberger
Project Team: Klaus Loehnert, Hans- Ulrich Suter

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