MVRDV

TRANSITLAGER RELOADED . Basel


MVRDV

The Transit Lager in Der Dreispitz, Munchenstein, has become empty. Its original function, the storage off cars, has been repositioned to other buildings at distant locations.











THE EMPTY BALL ROOMS - Now, the grand empty spaces with high ceilings feel like ball rooms. They awaken other dreams and possibilities. Working, living, dining……. Imagine one can inhabit these spaces in a pure way…..
A CLEAR STRATEGY - A clear series of steps have been developed to imagine a new life for the lager. To re-load it!
THE STRIPTEASE - As a starting point the building is kept as much as possible; for economical, characteristic and ecological reasons. It is only stripped from the un-needed, desolate elements and obstacles where possible. The façade hardly has any qualities for its new life. When stripped, it reveals a ‘rack’, of oversized spaces, waiting for infill.
THE EXTRUDED RACK - On top of the rack some identical floors are added. One can say that the rack is extruded. This enlarges the characteristics and moreover the potentials of the existing structure. It has high and naked ceilings, beautiful columns. The volume is a strong entity in itself and will keep this value by remaining compact.
REDUCING THE VOLUME - The site allows for three additional floors with a lousy height of 2.6 meters. By combining all leftover brutto spaces currently spread over all floors, one entire floor is freed up and can be eliminated. The two floor slabs can be equally divided and have the same luxurious height of 3 meters as the existing building.
THE PERFECT SLAB - The requested program fits the building like a puzzle. By putting the Gebrauchflache flush to the façade it leaves a minimal corridor and the leftover brutto to insert loggias. It creates a perfect slab with single orientated apartments; half of which facing north. The loggias will be overshadowed….Is this the result we are seeking for? Or can we go a step further?
THE UNITS - Firstly the program is divided into units; each specific part has its own characteristic dimensions and needs a minimum of façade length. A bedroom of 3 meters, a living room of 4 meters etc. While the ateliers have a façade of around 8 and offices of around 20 meters. The restaurants can even have an elevation of around 28 meters. All programmatic units can be seen as independent boxes. These boxes can be moved freely to find the right location.
PUSH … - In order to allow for better views, multi orientation and more light the boxes are pushed over the edge of the existing floor slabs. The length of the façade is stretched to compensate for the depth of the building. At the same time the loggias become bigger and the corridors are given air by widening up. The brutto floor area has increased to add critical value to the apartments, on the exterior and interior.
…AND PULL - To go even a step further, the boxes are pulled sideways. This in order to create individual balconies and more intimacy between the boxes. Moving the units also implies a great diversity, not only in the façade, but moreover in the typology of the houses. Each apartment is unique. They resemble containers which are moved (slide) in between the floor slabs.

THE CONTAINER CONTEXT - This concept echoes the former usage of the building. It echoes the neighboring container terminals. It adds up to the qualities of the area. An area which is ready for a slow but steady transition.
THE ROOF - The horizontal façade is green by Basel law. From the green some cubes pop up; these private pockets are tucked away and reached by an internal stair from the bigger villa’s. Via the public cores two communal spots can be used by the residents. A small pool to cool down in summer time and a deck where one can enjoy the sun, have a pick nick or watch the autumn sunset.
THE ENTRANCES - The building sits at 1 meter above ground level. This loading height is one of the characteristics of the former warehouse which is worth to accentuate. In order to enter the Transitlager several freestanding stairs and ramps are put against the plinth. Once on the plinth one can cross to the other side of the building via the remained allies. Some entrances of the smaller restaurants bring life to these inner streets. As well as the main cores with the dedicated elevators to go up to the offices and apartments.
THE PLAZA - The Transitlager is a freestanding building which sits on a newly designed plaza. The plaza is kept fairly open to refer to industrial times; the vastness can hold many types and scales of events. The Reloaded Lager can be seen from all sides and the residents can see all sides of the location from their overhanging boxes and balconies. It is like a scenery to the events on the plaza and vice versa.
THE QUALITY - The 360 degrees view over the Alps and over the city of Basel is what would bring people here to live. Besides that, a unique apartment with all the comfort, space, light and outdoors. Combined with the rough edge of the former industrial heritage. Der Dreispitz will offer a new atmosphere and new typologies of housing for a diverse public; mixing the quality of the oversized warehouses with the high standards of living.

TRANSITLAGER - The Transit Lager in Der Dreispitz, Munchenstein, has become empty. Its original function, the storage off cars, has been repositioned.
THE STRIPTEASE - The building is kept as much as possible. When stripped, it reveals a ‘rack’, of oversized spaces, waiting for infill.
THE EXTRUDED RACK - On top of the rack some identical floors are added; the rack is extruded. This enlarges the characteristics and moreover the potentials of the existing structure.
REDUCING THE VOLUME - By combining all leftover brutto spaces currently spread over all floors, one entire floor is freed up and can be eliminated.
THE PERFECT SLAB - The requested program fits the building like a puzzle. Is this the result we are seeking for? Or can we go a step further?
THE UNITS - Firstly the program is divided into units; each specific part has its own characteristic dimensions and needs a minimum of façade length.
PUSH...AND PULL - For better views, multi orientation and more light the boxes are pushed over the edge of the existing floor slabs. The boxes are pulled sideways to create individual balconies and more intimacy between the boxes and great diversity
THE CONTAINER CONTEXT - This concept echoes the former usage of the building. It echoes the neighbouring container terminals. It adds up to the qualities of the area.


BOXES RELOADED
THE BOXES - Every room is conceived as a space that has its own demands and characteristics. It searches for its best position…Within the required light and sun regulations. And keeping privacy and views well in balance.
THE HOUSES - Due to the proportions of the existing volume the units become narrow and deep; like a shotgun house. The benefit of this oversized warehouse is the extra height. The apartments feel more airy and get more light in. The bedrooms are pushed inwards to allow for loggias for breakfast and late afternoons… Bedroom and kitchen or living room can open up to this covered outdoor space. The living room boxes at the northern façade are pushed outwards to obtain sunlight. They give panoramic views over the plaza.
EXTRA BALCONIES - The roofs of the cantilevering boxes are used as sunny balconies and terraces for the houses above them. They enlarge their domain...Opaque walls towards the neighbours ensure the privacy. They also create pockets with privacy and shelter.
THE BOXES RELOADED - The containers are replaced by housing units, since a container does not have any ‘living’ qualities. Although these boxes have a similar proportion, they are much higher, they can be opened up for light and views and moreover they can be shifted among each other to create the pursued quality and comfort.
THE CORRIDORS - By shifting the boxes not only the exterior of the building obtains diversity. At the same time this movement creates a village like interior street, instead of the well known straight corridor which can be found in an anonymous hotel. Due to the positioning of the boxes, the otherwise boring long corridor is opened up to get alive. It becomes a space which can be inhabited; people will meet, mingle and relate. Due to the distance between some of the boxes, the space will get light and connect to the outside. To increase this connection holes are punched in the floor slabs as well. The holes cause relationships with the floors below and to above.

VERTICAL VILLAGE - By adding special features on the roof the interrelation between the various floors will be maximized. The communal spots like, the pool and the deck, can be used by the residents. Also the private pockets bring people up the highest point of the building to enjoy the view and the privacy. It becomes a vertical village…
THE MARKET HOUSING - All types of market houses are composed with the standard units. Each shift makes a standard, yet unique apartment. They all have a loggia or a balcony or both. The loft-type houses are connected to an atelier in order to increase the working-living experience. Some of the villa-type houses have the luxury of an internal connected private roof pocket.
THE EXPERIMENTAL HOUSES - On this floor a range of houses can be situated. Hotel-like rooms for students with collective kitchens. Studios and workspaces for young professionals. Individual bungalows with their surrounding open spaces. The corridor is open up to the extreme; it will not be recognized as such. A campsite like situation emerges with separate studios and collective amenities.
THE ATELIERS - The ateliers can be used in many different ways; it is basically a big open box. Starting up a practice, it could be combined with an apartment along the hallway. An artist could freely built large installations, using the car lift. Several small offices could benefit from each other by sharing common space…
THE OFFICES - The offices are arranged in differentiated units. They are equipped with a false ceiling for fittings, ducts and cables. The boxes shift inwards and outwards to allow for balconies for smokers and (outdoor) meeting rooms. Due to this they obtain character and identity.
THE RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL - The restaurants and retail units are the largest boxes. Positioned at the ground level they boast up the plinth of the building. Shifting the boxes create space for entrances, terraces and display.
THE FLEXIBLE BUILDING - The developed strategy of making use of equal units makes it possible to change the given function. A bedroom can become a kitchen; a living room can become a bedroom. But also: experimental units can be combined to become market housing; ateliers can become lofts and vice versa; offices can be ateliers and restaurants could be offices…Or even it could be imagined all program turns into market housing as soon as the market demands for it…
THE MONITOR - Competitions like these, since they lack bilateral communication, can only deliver conceptual approaches. In the early design phases, the concept should be able to absorb incoming demands and knowledge. The boxes, their dimensions and positions are able to change in size and position. Specific software could monitor and manage during that process the larger constraints of the operation. Costs, determined by façade lengths, façade treatments, beam sizes, cantilever sizes, light rules, energy ceilings… in order to make a sustainable and feasible project.

Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries with Fokke Moerel, Nacho Velasco, Jeronimo Mejia, Francesca Becchi, Monica Freundt, Maciek Grelewicz and Isabel Pagel

Partners:
Co-Architect: Atelier WW, Zurich (CH)
Landscape design: Topotek 1, Berlin (DE)

Consultants:
Structure: Gruner AG, Basel (CH)
Illustrations: Zwartlicht, Utrecht (NL)


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