© 2018 BY FM



A courtyard spans a length of 860 metres at the centre of a project for a residential area on part of the freight depot Wolf. Inspired by Fernand Pouillon’s farm yards in Algiers, a perimeter development of existing and new buildings is to form a new entity, that yet remains rooted in history and location. Selected memorabilia of the existing railway infrastructure revitalize the space and the use of the place.


Over the centuries, the peculiar conditions of the freight depot area haven given rise to unique biotic communities. Ecologists have identified roughly 400 species of plants and animals, including 89 on the red list. The enclosed yard protects not only the apartments from immissions. With a hard, mineral court design, the existing biopic communities are offered a variety of substitute habitats, which differ in terms of heat, humidity, wind exposure, etc.


The yard surface will be structured by a slab covering. In the access area of the houses, the slabs will be tiled into tracks with narrow joints. On the more extensively used surfaces, wide joints will be left in order to let the ruderal vegetation take root. In the central yard space, so-called intarsia will be created. Topsoil, enriched with seeds and sprouts, from surrounding railway locations will be used to fill these gaps. Over time, individual hedges will develop, to be used by humans and animals alike.


The yard landscape is zoned in with robinia, paulownia, catalpa and wing nuts. These species of tree, once introduced as neophytes to Switzerland by rail via the Basel transport route, now provide a spatial structure for the entire space.

This strategy has been developed for:

Residential development Wolf

Location: Basel, CH

Year: 2017

Architecture: Christ&Gartenbein Architekten, Basel

Lansdscape architecture: Maurus Schifferli, Bern

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