BRH-Architekten / Inès & Fabian Neuhaus
Kollegienhaus at the University of Basel, assembly hall renovation
best architects 23
The refurbished assembly hall – a festive place representing Switzerland‘s oldest university. The plan to replace the audio-visual equipment gave the initial impulse for transforming the venue from a rather stiff looking, outdated, muffled room into an inspiring, technically advanced auditorium with great acoustics. Cleared of add-ons that muted the acoustic space, the hall was reshaped through precise sculptural interventions into its geometry to create a well-tuned architectural soundbox. The rigid stylistic vocabulary of the architecture was livened up to achieve an elegant, more classical environment refined with elaborate details. The natural sound of the auditorium carries and supports the spoken word as well as music and provides excellent listening conditions. The new spatial design refers to the initial appearance of the hall. The podium and the panelling adapt the materials of the original design. The distinctive wooden ceiling was cleared and completed with sculptural details for more definition. To support a wider range of uses including concerts and other festive events a larger podium was created. The lighting covers technical as well as decorative functions, with pendant luminaires referencing the original lamps providing elegant mood light. The colour scheme is subtle yet festive. The slightly toned-down white of the wall surfaces is in tune with the wood of the floor, the podium and the ceiling, the original windows and the new golden-beige curtains.