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The Rundhofhalle – a special landmark in Basel

Published on 1/22/2016 by

For decades, Messe Basel used it as an emblem – the Rundhofhalle (round courtyard hall) with its big clock. It was planned by the famous Swiss architect, Hans Hofmann, who had made a name for himself at an earlier date with a legendary exhibition in Zurich.

"Big, simple and with no unnecessary trimmings" – that is how architect Hans Hofmann (1897-1957) described his intention for the Rundhofhalle. He set about planning the striking structure in 1951. Construction work began in 1953, and just one year later the building was inaugurated. With its classically elegant, post-war aesthetics and in particular with the large, prominent clock on its glazed central façade, the Rundhofhalle, which cost CHF 18 million, has remained one of the hallmarks of the exhibition site in Basel. The architectural design of the exhibition hall is seductively simple, yet sophisticated at the same time. It has a quadratic outline, which is replicated in the shape of its inner courtyard, but the overall impression it makes is astonishingly different on account of its perfectly circular gallery.

By the way: Hans Hofmann, who was a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, was not only the architect of the Rundhofhalle in Basel but was also responsible for the concept behind the legendary national exhibition in Zurich in 1939, which made him into a household name throughout Switzerland.

MCH Group Schweizer Mustermesse Rundhofhalle 1954

MCH Group Schweizer Mustermesse Rundhofhalle 1954

Photos: Staatsarchiv Basel Stadt/Privatarchiv MCH Group

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