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How a green-roofed shopping center is redefining ‘reuse’

Now that eco-friendly building and reuse projects are on the rise, there have been some pretty amazing transformations. Many architects and designers are embracing the adaptive reuse trend, breathing new life and new purpose into old buildings rather than demolishing them. A new design by Herzog & de Meuron that transforms an old depot into a shopping center is truly inspirational, showcasing innovative ways to approach reuse projects while still adding creativity and functionality to a design for the betterment of a community.

The building in question used to be a customs depot in Basel, Switzerland. But it will soon become a shopping center, in a project called Dreispitz Nord, that even has a school onsite. Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron headed the project, a mixed-use district that will expand Basel’s downtown. Herzog & de Meuron is no stranger to innovation. The firm first began the project in 2017, when it won a competition for a massive redevelopment plan for Basel. The goal in this project is to create an urban building with “large, public green space,” according to a statement released by the firm, which recently shared more details and updates on its original design.

The Dreispitz Nord project includes three mixed-use, high-rise towers surrounded by mid-rise buildings; these mid-rise buildings will add more affordable housing to the city. In addition to the shopping center, there’s also a public park and the school, which is big enough for about 600 students. The school and its accompanying gymnasium will be prefabricated to save time and construction waste. A flourishing green roof will serve as another public park, where a DIY and garden center will welcome Basel residents to get creative. There will also be playing fields, community gardens and a youth center.

The project’s blend of adaptive reuse and newly added high-rise towers will transform the Basel skyline while also adding plenty of public amenities for the community to enjoy.


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