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OPPENheim Architecture + Design Basel
Contemporary Architecture Practice Basel, Switzerland Architect Firm
15 Jun 2010
OPPENheim Architecture + Design Basel Office Opens
The import and export business is hot in the architecture world, with high-aesthetic cities like Miami and Basel trading top design talent and undergoing a distinct cultural exchange. Oppenheim Architecture + Design (OAD), won an international design competition beating out some the world’s finest architects to design Enzo Enea’s headquarters in Switzerland. At the same time Swiss firm Herzog de Mueron just completed 1111 Lincoln Road and were selected to design Miami Art Museum’s new location in Bicentennial Park.
International award-winning, green architect, Chad Oppenheim will celebrate not only his crucial role in creating the structure that sets the stage for the world’s first tree museum at Enea headquarters on June 13, but also his own grand opening for OAD’s new Basel office the day after, June 14, just two days before Art Basel officially begins.
Though OAD’s work on Enea’s headquarters was its first project in Europe, it wasn’t its first with Enea. Enzo Enea and Chad Oppenheim met during Art Basel Miami Beach and quickly teamed up with Audi to work on the rehabilitation and redesign of one of Florida’s only natural surviving eco-systems, Simpson Park in downtown Miami.
“There is great synergy between Basel and Miami,” says Oppenheim. “Both are compact cities with an international professional trade and tourist clientele. Both cities yield a global cultural influence and have a great impact on the arts, serving as crossroads for their respective continents.”Although there is no wanting for a non-national design firm in Switzerland, Oppenheim’s involvement with Enea’s Headquarters in Rapperswil-Jona and newly commissioned projects in Europe, the Middle East and Asia created the perfect setting to expand to the Mecca of all things art and design.
The new venture will seize the opportunity to fuse the Humanitarian Modernist design culture Oppenheim created in Miami with the sensitivity to high-design, energy efficiency and immense attention to detail that exists for building in Switzerland.
In the process of designing Enea Headquarters, Oppenheim reconnected with a colleague from Cornell University, Beat Huesler, a Basel-based architect. With OAD working on several new projects abroad—including BRICKS, a conversion and revitalization of a historic brick factory and industrial area into a landmark town center; large-scale coastal resort in Greece developed by Dolphin Capital Partners; and an urban development project in Switzerland—Oppenheim decided to establish an office in Basel, with Huesler as the Director of European Office for OAD.
The design for OAD’s European office originated from a design competition launched by the city of Muttenz, which Huesler won for the renovation and design of a historic farmhouse situated within the core of the city. The farmhouse, originally constructed in 1743, sits directly across from Switzerland’s only fortified roman church around which all other structures in the town were originally arranged. While preserving the building’s structural integrity, the aims of the design is to give a fresh interpretation of modernist architecture set within the 18th century exteriors. The complete project includes an office space, three separate living units and a communal gathering space. Along with Enea headquarters, both properties were consciously built with sustainable materials and methods.
“Our firm has unique sensitivities regarding lifestyles, natural environments and design,” says Oppenheim, “and while Switzerland and Europe have some of the greatest designers, materials and standards in the world, we hope to add a unique perspective to their highly respected architectural tradition.”
30 Dec 2009
OPPENHEIM ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN – Basel Office
While Miami-based architect Chad Oppenheim’s wife, Ilona, is from Switzerland, it wasn’t just the family trips that inspired him to open a European office for Oppenheim Architecture + Design. Coupled with other key projects, OAD had won an international architecture competition to design Switzerland’s leading landscape architect Enzo Enea’s headquarters, Enea Gardens in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland.
Enea headquarters, Switzerland:
Though Switzerland is home to outstanding design talent and there is no compelling need for a non-national design firm, Enea’s vision precipitated a search for a firm that would embody his unique perspective. Narrowed down to eight leading world architects, Chad Oppenheim, an internationally renowned green architect was chosen. This relationship between Enea and OAD began with a meeting in South Florida during Art Basel Miami. Impressed with Oppenheim’s demonstrated design sensibilities in which he has heavily integrated nature within the surrounding contextual palette of historical buildings and his own brand of Tropical Modernism, Enea felt that OAD was a firm that could accurately realize his vision. OAD recently received an American Architecture Award for its design of the Enea Gardens Headquarters.
“Though I’ve worked with Chad on private homes and the Simpson Park project in Miami, I wanted the chance to work with him with freedom of design and no creative limitations,” says Enzo Enea. “I also selected him from the competition [for the Enea Gardens headquarters] for the way he interpreted everything we wanted to use; he understood what we wanted to do with the tree museum (arboretum), and he integrated the design and nature better than anyone. He designed it so that you can see the trees throughout the building, sensitive to creating microclimates for each space.” Every section has its own microclimate (measured amount of light, water, etc. allowed in), tailored to the needs of each tree. They plan to house over 2,000 trees at the property, with a special installation of about 50.
Drawing upon Enea’s industry and hobby of collecting trees, OAD provided a focus and celebrated garden space, within a 12th Century Monastery, integrating the factory and showroom throughout the interiors and exteriors of the site. OAD’s design will feature the only tree gallery in the world. The project is on schedule and set for completion summer of 2010.
In the process of designing this project, Oppenheim reconnected with a college friend and colleague from Cornell University, Beat Huesler, a Basel-based architect. When OAD was commissioned with several new projects abroad — including a large-scale coastal resort in Greece developed by Dolphin Capital Partners, and an urban development project in Switzerland — Oppenheim decided to establish an office in
Basel, with Beat Huesler as the Director of European Office for OAD.
“There is great synergy between Basel and Miami,” says Oppenheim. “Both are compact cities with an international professional trade and tourist clientele. Both cities wield a global cultural influence and have a great impact on the arts, serving as the crossroads for their respective continents.
“Our firm have unique sensitivities regarding lifestyles, natural environments and design,” says Oppenheim, “and while Switzerland and Europe have some of the greatest designers, materials and standards in the world, we hope to add a unique perspective to their highly respected architectural tradition.”
More Oppenheim Architecture + Design Basel information online soon
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