“A Penthouse for the People“

“A Penthouse for the People“


In a hitherto commercially used quarter of Basel, BIG wants to turn an old warehouse into a residential, work and creative center named “Transitlager”.

New Quarter in the City            

South of Basel central station the hitherto commercially used “Dreispitz” (three points) is supposed to be turned into a vivid quarter of the city. Located in a central area between functional buildings, railway tracks crossing each other and loading docks, you will find the so-called Transitlager. Based on plans made by Copenhagen firm Bjarke Ingels Group, the five-story warehouse from the 1960s is supposed to be turned into an unusual residential, work and creative center during the next three years.

Spectacular Addition

According to the plans of BIG the edged ferro-concrete building will be added by a three-story expansion. In order to allow for a maximum of daylight coming in and to enable multi-faceted views, the extra volume is supposed to be divided into five segments, and the individual ashlars will be turned towards each other by an angle of 90 degrees. The two outer segments of the folded setup are planned to end in pointy tips.

The surprising concept creates a catchy architectural logo, reminding of an ocean liner not in use anymore due to its long hexagonal shape and striking setup. The jagged building lines and the pointy ends also reflect the industrial logic of the surrounding structure and thus create a surprising familiarity with the heterogeneous environment.

Versatile Usage

Through this expansion the already existing floor area of the Transitlager is nearly doubled to 30,000 square meters. The residential percentage will be about 55 percent, for the remaining areas BIG plans a vivid blend of flexible layouts for the fields of office, studio and business as well as commerce and catering. In an interplay of old and new rich in contrast and with a minimum of interventions into the already existing structure the mighty hybrid is planned to be turned into a “penthouse for the people”, that’s the concept according to Bjarke Ingels.

An additional peculiarity of the project are the common outdoor areas. Since instead of an inner courtyard you would expect to find inside the Transitlager, commonly usable gardens at penthouse level are planned. As living oases at the heart of the city and as a convincing expansion of the already existing typologies. 

Project details


BIG, Kopenhagen


Completion is expected 2015



BGF: 30.000 square meter


Nuesch Development RG, UBS Fund Management, Christoph Merian Stiftung


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tonybennet25_1's picture
tonybennet25_1 8. September 2015 - 15:52

You must admit that this project sounds very interesting. The architect's decision to blend new elements with the old structure will help him create an unique living area. Since the project it's not yet completed, there's still time to catch the Time Warner cable deals. Besides high quality, these products will spare them a lot of money, that could be invested somewhere else.