Museum Jean Tinguely

Museum Jean Tinguely
Architect: Mario Botta
Address: Grenzacherstrasse 210, Basel, Switzerland
Investor:F. Hoffman-La Roche
Area:6057 m2
Built Up Space:54150 m3

All four facades of the Jean Tinguely Museum are of different designs faced with pink rosé de Champanay sandstone. The most spectacular architectural gesture is what Botta calls "La Barca" (the boat), a long, sloping glass gallery set along the south side of the main building, facing the Rhine.

The museum's building is situated along the eastern side of the nineteenth-century Park, directly adjacent to the Rhine river and at one end of a highway bridge. Thus, the new building is an attempt to rejuvenate this urban void between the city's twentieth-century fabric and the edge of the highway. The building's plan is a rectangle with each of the sides responding in a different way to the prevailing urban situation and condition. Whereas on one side it rises to a solid wall, in an effort to shut out the constant din of highway traffic, on the other side it embraces the adjacent park area with a series of generously proportioned front naves. As entrance to the park and to the museum, the building provides a space for meditation with the city and a particular walkway suspended above the river. After entering through the great front portico facing the park, the visitor is led to the museum by an unusual path. From the foyer area, he reaches the first exhibition space via a glass-paneled walkway that juts out above the Rhine . This architectural "promenade" gives the visitor time to prepare himself mentally before entering the exhibition space on the first floor, forcing a dialogue between the consumer and the context. It allows the visitor to form an intimate relationship with the urban space of the large river. A particular feature of the internal space is the full sunlight that from time to time falls in unusual configurations upon the various exhibition floors. The large ground-floor space can be divided up by massive moving walls that scurry along between the architraves, creating a fragmented environment of five sections that commune with the adjacent park.

This museum is compact in outward appearance, but reveals itself as flexible and modular within, rich in spatial devices (such as the front portico and the glazed walkway above the river) that offer new and emotive possibilities to the visitor.

Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) who grew up in Basel and belonged to the Parisian avant-garde in the 1950s and 60s, stimulated and revolutionized the "static" art world with his kinetic works. The Museum's permanent collections present a selection of the artist's machine sculptures, reliefs and drawings from all the periods of his career. The Museum also offers a varied and lively programme of temporary shows devoted to Tinguely's fellow artists and contemporaries - Bernhard Luginbühl, Niki de Saint Phalle and Yves Klein - and to his models such as Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, as well as to related subjects such as contemporary kinetic art.
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