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Case Study

Basel Exhibition Center

The architects’ choice? Ribbons made from Novelis J57S® aluminum facade material in anodized quality, which fits the requirements of the lamellar facade design perfectly.

“Because the building is so vast it deserved something light and versatile – hence the aluminum ribbons,” said architect Jacques Herzog of lead architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron in Basel.

The new Basel Exhibition Center is comprised of a three-story building complex 220 meters long, 90 meters wide and 35 meters high. The hall has an exhibition area of 38,000 m2 with a 3,300-m2 multifunctional event hall on the ground floor.

Completed in 2013 after 22 months of construction, the building is a nearly perfect combination of functionality and aesthetics. Due to its striking lamellar facade of wide and wavy J57S aluminum ribbons, the exhibition center appears vibrant and attractive.

City: Basel
Country: Switzerland
Products: Batch anodized aluminum J57S
Application: Facade cladding
Color: Natural anodized

Thickness: 2 mm
Quantity: 17,000 m2
Architect: Herzog & de Meuron
Installation: Rytz Industriebau AG

Aluminum Facade Cladding Raises Design Possibilities

The brilliant, high-quality anodized surfaces of J57S – batch anodized by BWB Bürox – ensured consistent quality and excellent processability, while at the same time offering distinctive and extravagant design possibilities for the aluminum facade of the Basel expo center. The material’s specific anodizing regulations were an ideal match for the high demands of the architect.

Novelis J57S is specially designed for the demanding requirements of modern architectural applications. The chemical composition of the alloy is formulated to achieve a distinctive metallic appearance after anodizing. The material is also non-flammable according to 96/603/EG and non-combustible according to DIN 4102.

To ensure consistency, J57S is subject to a tightly controlled production process. Quality assurance checks are performed throughout manufacturing, from initial casting to the time the material leaves the plant for delivery.

During ingot production, both casting parameters and pre-treatment are checked, including temperature control, speed, filtering, scalping and sawing. Pre-heating, hot and cold rolling and intermediate annealing are also verified. Finally, dimensions, flatness and mechanical properties are confirmed per DIN EN 485-4 and DIN EN 485-2, respectively. Subject to an anodizing test, each coil must be approved before being shipped out.

In addition to its economic value, superior quality, extreme durability and high resistance to weathering and corrosion, J57S aluminum is recyclable. Aligning with the high energy performance standards of the Basel Exhibition Center, the material is environmentally sustainable.

Creating an Architectural Highlight

The glass basement level extends three stories high, with distinct views to the street. The two upper hall floors are placed against one another to create the illusion of separate entities. In contrast to the open and transparent floors below, the upper floors are designed to be closed. The City Lounge, through its funnel-shaped “window to the sky,” provides a visual connection of the two halls.

Typically, innovative highlights are presented within the halls of an exhibition center. In this case, however, the Basel Exhibition Center is the architectural highlight.