Fondation Beyeler

I’ve always liked the Fondation Beyeler – the beautiful, suburban building designed by Renzo Piano between the road and fields on the outskirts of Basel, with spaces which are all daylit, looking out through large windows onto fields, but, at the same time, well judged, well proportioned, and providing the best possible conditions for the viewing of art.

The Foundation was established in 1982 by Ernst Beyeler and Hilda Kunz.   They showed their collection at the Reina Sofia in 1989, at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin in 1993, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1997.   The building opened on 18 October 1997.

I walked round the outside to get a better sense of the ways that it connects to nature and the surrounding countryside:-

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5 thoughts on “Fondation Beyeler

  1. Leslie Hills says:

    Piano’s work is very fine. He is also charming. He took part in a work we made about the Japanese sculptor, Susumu Shingu. We filmed him in Paris at the wonderful Jaeger Bucher Galerie

  2. Piano’s Beyeler was always designed as a building that would allow for expansion along its long axis. The roof system (engineered by the wonderful Jane Wernick CBE, if I remember correctly), its structure and parallel walls indicate such future growth, especially when viewed from the ponds. But unfortunately such built-in flexibility was soon forgotten by the client, as was the case at the Centre Pompidou. The Beyeler is now planning an extension by Peter Zumthor on a separate plot nearby, in the process neglecting one of the key aspects of the Piano design. It is interesting to observe how often the rationality of systematic flexibility on an architectural scale is abandoned in favour of less rational desires for novelty and trophies. Does the client lack the necessary discipline required by the architect? Is the architect’s expectation misguided? Are the technological systems of the architects of the 60s and 70s, and their implied repeatability, less relevant to our contemporary cultural economy? Just a few questions I am sure the RCA exhibition will be able to answer…

    • Dear Oliver, Yes, I noticed the roof system which is very visible from the ponds. I think it was extended to a small extent early on and is already quite a long building, so I can see the logic in using a different architect on a new site. Charles

  3. Leslie Hills says:

    Charles, the German director/cinematographer, Thomas Riedelsheimer, with whom I have worked for over twenty years, is making a film for the exhibition I believe. Our latest work, a second film about Andy Goldsworthy – Leaning into the Wind – will be released in the UK by Curzon on 10th August. I look forward to seeing the exhibition and Thomas’ work.

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