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Museum der Kulturen

Herzog & de Meuron

Europa | Basilea

A museum requiring enlargement and renovation, an important cultural institution needing a new identity: this was the brief the Basel Museum der Kulturen gave architects Herzog & de Meuron. A stone’s throw from the river Rhine, tucked into the tightly packed fabric of medieval Basel, the museum is housed in a classical building designed in 1849 by Melchior Berri and stands on the former site of an Augustinian monastery on the cathedral hill. Called the “Universal Museum”, it was designed to host both the arts and sciences and today boasts one of Europe’s most important ethnographic collections thanks to a continuous flow of donations and bequests. By 1917 the museum was already bursting at the seams. The project by Architects Vischer & Söhne extended the building to house 40,000 exhibits. Since then the collection has grown to some 300,000 pieces, so that further extension was...

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