EM2N chosen to build basel’s museum of natural history and state archives
renderings by luxigon / images courtesy of EM2N




after winning the competition, it has been announced that zurich based studio EM2N will build the state archives and the museum of natural history in basel, switzerland. named ‘zasamane’ the two programs will be located at a single location, where the design proposal presents a unique storehouse of information where it will combine the knowledge about nature and culture. the site itself is situated adjacent to the railway line where the scheme will be comprised of a series of building volumes that increases in density toward vogesenplatz and finished with a tall tower- symbolizing the institution, the knowledge storehouse and the city of basel as a whole.

view of the building from vogesenplatz




the building displays a subtle staggering which is exemplified by the materials that have been chosen. the plinth, foyer and the state archives on the top floor will be clad with exposed concrete and glass. meanwhile, the horizontal surfaces will be composed of layered brickwork in different shades to evoke an image of sediment-like strips.



programmatically, the state archives extends along the entire length of the building in the form of a glazed top floor presenting sweeping views of the cityscape. the circulation system running through the 18-metre high hall in the tower connects the plan counter on the ground floor with the reading room area at roof level, both spatially and visually.

a generous entrance hall strengthens the joint presence of both institutions




the interior rooms of the museum have been organized to the floors below. the idea of the museum as a storehouse of knowledge is given a concrete physical and architectural structure by the concept of a wide-spanning, twin-storey shelf. as well as offering generous spatial qualities this structure also ensures a high level of flexibility and adaptability for the long-term operation of the museum. the staircases themselves are like spatial slices made through the various layers, exposing the museum’s diverse program, while enabling visitors to experience it and create a visual impact between the two interlocking institutions. construction is planned for 2018 where the finished building will become a recognizable addition to the city.

the light-filled staircase in the hall of the museum of natural history basel

tower hall state archives basel-city

view from voltastrasse