Artists’ Village

Artists’ Village Pixorama
Catalog of Public and Private Spaces

GSD Option Studio Fall 2020 Module 2

Instructors: HHF (Simon Hartmann, Simon Frommenweiler, Tilo Herlach)

Collaborator: Keira Li

Duration: 10.22.2020 – 12.11.2020, seven weeks

Responding to the economic recession caused by the global pandemic in 2020, our project “Artists’ Village” proposes an imminent architectural transformation at the exhibition fairground of Messe Basel. The project takes place at the 9800 square meter block of the former Exhibition Hall 3 of Messe Basel. It reimagines the afterlife of the site as a mixed-use art space offering a common ground for not only city residents but also visiting artists and performers. The primary program is a guest house that provides a tailor-made short term residence for artists and performers who come to Basel for a temporary stay. Accompanying programs include public galleries, artist’s studios, performance space, and cafes. The Artists’ Village establishes a common ground where diverse activities happen, and provides the architectural flexibility to adapt to uncertain future circumstances.

We have identified three tiers of public space in our common ground with varying degrees of publicness. In this diagram, we are showing the 3 tiers of public space in different colors: The Outskirts in violet, the Interstitial in yellow, and the Plaza in pink. Although all these 3 kinds of space could be identified as public, they give the visitor very different spatial experiences. As one enters the project, they first find themselves in the unprogrammed outskirts. Moving radially inward, they encounter the interstitial space in between two buildings. The interstitial space creates a unique spatial condition that merges the external circulation pathways leading to the central plaza with the activity-generating open grounds. On this ground floor plan, we can see 3 variations of the flexible interstitial space: It could be a covered seating area under a shed serving the nearby cafes on the ground floor. It could also be an area with rows of poster columns showing events information at the Artists’ Village for the visitors. Or it could simply be a green space with trees and plants. Finally, Passing the interstitial space, the visitor enters the elliptical plaza encircled by the buildings. While still an open space without any enclosure, the plaza provides a sense of internality. The boundaries of the 3 tiers of space are not fixed. Instead, they push and pull the borders of each other and sometimes merge.

Inverting the traditional continuous perimeter block, we place 10 centripetal masses along the perimeter of the former Hall 3 block, forming a field of buildings sharing a common ground in which artists stay, work, and perform in proximity

The discontinuous masses break the tendency to circulate along the perimeter and create possibilities of a centripetal directionality. The boundary between the buildings and the site and the courtyard becomes erased. The buildings create a hugging pose and display an open vibe to artists, residents, and visitors.  

Proximity between residents’s living space, working studios and exhibition galleries is established, while individuality and privacy is preserved. 

Formally there are 2 types of volumes: both of them share the uniform width of 8 meters. The longer ones are 30 meters long while the shorter ones are 22 meters in length. 

The porous perimeter creates a field that is  both a destination and a circulation

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