A piece of architectural culture

Hidden between the railway embankments behind the Badischer Bahnhof, the model housing estate built on the occasion of the 1st Swiss Housing Exhibition Basel – WOBA for short – lies in Sleeping Beauty’s sleep. This is an important and unique manifesto of new building beyond Switzerland, which negotiates highly topical issues with its proposals for affordable, space-saving living space in the city. Nevertheless, to this day there is no scientific discussion of the settlement and the underlying residential ideals, nor is there any effort to communicate the theme to the general public.

Im Surinam 126
Ein Haus WOBA, Im Surinam 126, Basel

Since the spring of 2017, a row single-family house by the well-known Basel architects Paul Artaria and Hans Schmidt has been empty in the estate. The small house is not only a particularly radical attempt at a small apartment for families, but is also the last example to have been largely preserved in its original interior.

Siedlungs Schorenmatten, 1929 und WOBA-Siedlung Eglisee, 1930. Archiv Wohngenossenschaft Eglisee, Basel

With the conviction that this unique and last chance to preserve historical building culture will not go unused, the association Ein Haus WOBA developed a project to preserve this piece of Basel building culture. As a first step, careful restoration and original furnishing are planned. The apartment is to be rented to students at favourable conditions on condition that the house is made available for public guided tours. In a second step, a scientific publication on the Woba and a small exhibition designed for the general public are planned. We are convinced that this programme will enrich the architectural city of Basel with a monument from the New Building era, which is still poorly represented today, and that the current discussion on building and housing issues will benefit from the discussion of this historical position.

Would  you like to visit Haus WOBA? Guided tours of the settlement and the house are now available on request. You can find all the information you need here > Visit