Decoding Design

St. Johann has designs on becoming must-see Swiss burg

Posting in Architecture

In the neighborhood of St. Johann in Basel, Switzerland, even a pharmaceutical headquarters is an architectural attraction.

Along the Rhine River in northern Basel, Switzerland, sits the St. Johann neighborhood. Never heard of it? If you're a fan of architecture and art, you may have -- or, at least, you will soon.

A number of factors are converging to push St. Johann into the center of architects' and designers' attention in Basel, reports the New York Times:

  • Big pharmaceutical Novartis spent 2.2 billion Swiss franc to turn its headquarters and production facility there into a "starchitect" destination. It hired architects Frank Gehry, Yoshio Taniguchi, who worked on the Museum of Modern Art, and Tadao Ando to design buildings for the campus.
  • Art Parcours, the outdoors, site-specific art tour of the international art show Art Basel, is landing in St. Johann this summer (June 13-17).
  • New and improved transportation options have made it easier to get into and out of St. Johann from nearby France and Germany.
  • A bevy of new boutiques, galleries and furniture designers are growing St. Johann's street cred.

But the best evidence that St. Johann is so hot right now? A 2-bedroom apartment there, furnished largely in Ikea, is going for $371/night on Airbnb. Yikes.

Image: St. Johann neighborhood, Flickr/pppspics

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Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure