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GGG Basel City Library

Basel, Switzerland

Competition 1st prize 2012

Planning 2012

Realisation 2013-2014

Opening 8. May 2015


GGG Gemeinschaft für das Gute und Gemeinnützige Basel, Switzerland

Architecture, general planning

Itten+Brechbühl AG, Basel, Switzerland

Team ZPF

Conor Murphy, Sali Sadikaj

Isaak Iselin, a proponent of the Enlightenment, founded GGG Basel (The Society for the Common and Good) in 1777 for the promotion of education, welfare institutions and culture, so as to combat the bitter poverty of large sections of the population. The Basel Youth Library was established in 1807, and has become a modern media centre with over 32,000 members and almost 750,000 visitors a year. The library is in Basel's historical city centre and extends throughout three buildings, one of which, the former guild house Zum Schmiedenhof, is a listed building. The original library installation from the mid-1970s proved too small for its constantly expanding programme and growing clientele, 30 years after it was implemented.


The comprehensive conversion and extension in both the Schmiedenhof wing and the Vischer wing enable adequate modernisation, while doubling the size of the library. One of the most important challenges was to combine the historical guild house with the current requirements of a media centre. The architectural concept revolved around dismantling the conversion and installation work from the 1970s: an important corrective measure in terms of heritage preservation. The main idea was to invigorate the public space, which the library is also part of.

© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel
© GGG Basel

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