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Chair of Architecture and Urban Design
Asst. Prof. Dr. Alex Lehnerer

Master thesis

For doing your Master Thesis with us, please submit your application directly at our office, HIL G74.

Master thesis

The Horseman and the Six Towers

Juxtaposed to the hall of the train station stands a rust-colored building of the Post Office. The Postreitergebäude, soon to be abandoned, creates a break in the urban fabric. It is the corrosive dream of a different city, which spreads among the buildings with the ferocity of the railway. This formal rupture lets an opportunity emerge with the idea of a rehabilitation of the Postreitergebäude, which respects the urban dissonance of the building, the one that opposes the river polarity of Basel.

This project is run by a decision to retain the existent, whose metallic form echoes the modern rail symbolic. There is the idea of our time, the one that composes with the real to challenge the known, to arouse the hope of a transcendence. This desire is reflected in the porosity of the building, which maintains its circulation both in terms of the building itself and of the bridge over the railway tracks. A new building clusters around the existent, whose infrastructural strength is preserved to densify the urban power of the construction.

The Postreitergebäude is ripped open, only its skeleton remains. Through the railings, the facade was presented to the city with a relative neutrality. These railings are preserved in this project, but now let’s perceive the inside. It is no longer the reign of opacity, a transparency is created behind the railings, which reveals a hollow building. The railings become the frame of a different world, while letting us guess its dynamics and inviting us to discover its vitality.

A response to the program thus drives this project. The desire to maintain the existent also corresponds to a desire to maintain the relationship of the building to the trains, to the territory. It is the will to increase further the urban influence of this building on the city with the densification of its infrastructural role. The goal is therefore to open the building to the people through the construction of a Grossmarkthalle, which would work as a machine. The building would bring together in the same place the arrival of commodities, the products processing, and a market for the consumers. On the roof, trucks will deliver the raw materials, which will be transformed and will arrive at the atrium where the consumers can receive the goods which have descended symbolically from the heights of the building.

Added to the infrastructure of the train station, the building would retain its privileged relationship with the rail, which is one of the founding element of the modern era. Furthermore, it would become part of the station, an extension slowing this place of passage and inviting us to wander in the market. It aims to serve as a new urban center for the city of Basel. A formal and functional density would be created in the building, a microcosmos would develop itself, the market would boost surrounding areas, and this construction would tell in its heart the story of the abundance of life within.

Project by: Donia Jornod
Longitudinal section
East elevation
View on the roof
View inside the market hall
Cross section
8th floor (roof)
Ground floor