The facade of the new building for the Kunstmuseum Basel is encircled at a height of twelve metres by a three metres high frieze with horizontal joints that are cast in shadow by the incident daylight. White LEDs are placed into the joints so they cannot be seen from the street yet precisely illuminate the specially formed grooves. Reflection on the light-coloured bricks of the frieze thus creates an indirect light that can be used to display both text and graphics. An integral part of the architecture, the subtle way the facade is enlivened makes it seem sometimes more and sometimes less transparent, suggesting diverse interactions between the building’s interior and the surrounding urban space. During the day, the brightness of the illuminated joints corresponds to that of the ambient light outside. Thus, a fleeting play of light and shadow emerges, which yet seems to be as solid as the masonry. As daylight fades, the frieze adapts to the new environmental conditions, becoming more radiant.
Statement by the Jury
The light frieze media facade of the Kunstmuseum Basel fascinates with poetic expression based on the sophisticated interplay of form, architecture and light. Harmonising with the material of stone, the effect of constantly changing grey and white emerges as the daylight changes. The changing typographical message thus created lends the building high visual appeal.