The Raussmüller Hallen is a concentrate of the convictions and insights that the artist Urs Raussmüller has gained over the course of his life with his works, his institutions and the implementation of his cultural concepts. In architectural terms, it consists of the combination of a new, light-filled building designed by Raussmüller and the existing, long-standing workplace of the Raussmüller Organisation in the St. Johann industrial quarter of Basel. The different character of the generously dimensioned new Hallen (2017–2019) and the multi-storey industrial building (ca. 1978), subdivided by Raussmüller into distinct spaces, creates a plurality of spatial and lighting situations. Their variety goes to meet the individual requirements of representative works of New Art: it is used to offer these artworks – many of them large in format and expansive in area – an appropriate setting in which to unfold their rich effects, and to foster awareness of the significance of an artistic production based on a fundamentally new world view.
Like Raussmüller’s former art locations, the Raussmüller Hallen is without precedent. His new building is based entirely on his ideas as an artist and his thinking informed every stage of its conception, architectural planning and execution. The result is a two-storey building with tall, single-span spaces characterised by incident natural light. Each storey has a surface area of some 60 x 25 m. The ceiling height on the ground floor is approx. 7.5 m, on the upper floor approx. 13.8 m. The dimensions, simplicity and holistic nature of the two halls create a sense of grandeur that radiates from within. Externally, the building appears in its form and materiality as part of its industrial environment, while the light-flooded interior is without parameters. Raussmüller’s aim was to build his new halls “with light”, and the living light in the inward-oriented storeys is indeed a stupendous element dominating the whole. The specially engineered glazing in the roof lights and lateral lights (below) distributes the changing natural light across the walls and floors almost without shadows and creates an atmosphere of weightlessness.
Urs Raussmüller realized the Hallen with a small team under his own direction. It is equipped with all the technical systems necessary for the conservation of the artworks and is designed primarily as a workplace, as Werkhallen (“workshops”), not as a museum. Raussmüller is currently working on both storeys on the internal elements that structure the “hyperspace” and form spatial units in which works of art will be installed. His work installations in the existing building are a measure of the energy that can result from the fusion of a painting or sculpture with the surrounding space. In its interaction with art, the Raussmüller Hallen fulfils a dual role: as an instrument for processing the works from a technical and theoretical perspective, and as a place for enhanced perception and sensory experiences. For the time being, the Raussmüller Hallen is reserved for the activities of the Raussmüller Organisation and its focus on New Art. Objectives include the installation and curatorial care of important works, their research and documentation, and the communication of the knowledge and experiences that Urs and Christel Raussmüller have garnered over a lifetime of working with artists and art. Insights gained in the working process are made available in publications and via www.raussmueller-insights.org.