Vosges Stadium in Basel
A great example for activating public spaces and rooftop areas in an increasingly dense urban context.
The design of the schoolyard no longer met the needs of today’s schools and pupils.
The Vosges Stadium is the result of the redesign of a schoolyard used by three schools in the north of Basel. Instead of renovating old plant troughs and fountains, MET Architects installed a bold playing field, activating three schools and a roof area.
The Vogesen, Pestalozzi and St. Johann schools in the north of Basel form an open block perimeter around a schoolyard with an underground gymnasium and swimming hall. The hall, built in 1980 by the architects Gass and Hafner, is spanned by six concrete girders.
With just a few interventions, MET Architects cleared the schoolyard of structures that had fallen out of time.
The schoolyard was cleared of above-ground structures such as skylights, a fountain and plant troughs, as well as the old insulation and pavement. The new floor was insulated and sealed to prevent water from seeping in again. On top, a 12 cm thick concrete distribution slab was installed for the trafficability of the surface. The areas adjacent to the surrounding buildings were sealed with rolled asphalt.
Laid out with synthetic sports flooring, the courtyard now offers two basketball courts. The bleachers were dismantled down to their supporting structure, revised and supplemented with two covered grandstands for spectators, which extend across the entire width of the court and form a stadium-like space that can be used by the schools and the neighbourhood for recess, sports and leisure activities.
The pitch has been visually extended beyond its edge and forms the new schoolyard as a unity, even when viewed from above.
The two roofs, each projecting about six meters, feature very prominently from the schools. In order to protect the concrete from permeating moisture and do justice to the high visibility, the roofs were covered with the same red synthetic surface used for the basketball courts.
The playing field is optically extended over the upper floors of the surrounding buildings.
We did this.
Ruedi Walti, Basel
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