Gentle interventions on the layout of the historical Lohnhof garden in Basel’s old town aim at implementing the site amenities and vegetation palette.

Location Basel, Switzerland
Size 500 m2
Time Frame 2020
Client Private
Commission Type Feasibility study, direct commission

Built at the start of the 11th century as a religious center, Lohnhof was in the early 19th century occupied by the cantonal police and hosted a prison.  After the civil servants moved away at the end of the 20th century, the various buildings were repurposed and the former penitentiary transformed into private housing, whose shared garden benefits from an extraordinary look-out situation overhanging ten meters above the street level, abutting to what had been the first city wall. The garden is south oriented, allowing to successfully plant there trees and shrubs despite the disadvantageous nature of a soil constituting primarily of ballast.

The study answers the wish of the residents to improve the amenities of the garden with simple interventions. The historical layout of the cloister garden with its two rectangular grass patches is preserved and its geometry slightly redefined in order to increase the width of the beds along the façade and the outer wall’s edge. This allows the creation of several green niches, where banks and tables are positioned. Sitting steps are replacing the existing bumpy slope bridging the topography split-level. A raised herb bed as well as a compost area is added while the planting of climbers, perennials and shrubs implement the garden’s color palette.