words Kirsty McGregor
We’re quite envious of the pupils at secondary school Kirschgarten Gymnasium, in Basel city centre. They get to eat their cheese sandwiches in a sleek new cafeteria, designed by local firm
For a school canteen, the Cafeteria Kirschgarten is exceptionally elegant. Ribbons of white wood connected by grey, shimmering aluminium cover the walls and ceiling, and a glass facade floods the space with light. By extending the wood ribbons out beyond the glass partition, the architect has created a terrace where children can sit and eat.
HHF had to work with an awkward space for this project. Swiss architect Hans Bernoulli designed the school in 1957 and it now has official landmark status. So the cafeteria, which is built around an existing colonnade, had to be constructed entirely independently of the school building.
“There were all these supporting beams and concrete columns, so we had to come up with something to go in between,” says HHF’s Simon Frommenwiler. “Eventually, if ever it should be needed, the wood ribbons would allow us to tear the whole thing back out.”
top image Inside the cafeteria
images Tom Bisig
image A glass façade floods the space with light
image The old colonnade is intact
image The cafeteria looks out to a courtyard
image Pupils can eat on the terrace
image Colours are kept neutral
image Aluminium joins the wood
image White walls hide the kitchen
image Wood ribbons cover the walls and ceiling