Oppenheim Architecture designs a Swiss water purification plant with a twist

Oppenheim Architecture designs a Swiss water purification plant with a twist

The Swiss municipality of Muttenz now has a water purification plant with a twist. Far from the traditional industrial facility that remains off-limits to the members of the public, this innovative treatment centre is a truly interactive experience, and open to all by appointment – and who could resist taking an informative tour of how a modern facility of its kind works?

Combining technology, education and preservation, the building, designed by Miami-based Oppenheim Architecture, is swiftly becoming a new landmark for the wider Basel area. The plant’s sculptural form is distinctive. The architects aimed to work with materials that blend harmoniously with the surrounding environment; strengthening the structure’s message of sustainability along the Rhine River waterfront. 

The facility’s distinctive, sculptural form is becoming iconic for the area. Photography: Oppenheim Architecture/Leon Huesler/Aaron Kohler

At the same time, the design had to address practical issues such as upkeep and a meaningful connection with its surroundings. Low maintenance, tactile shotcrete (concrete sprayed on a surface through a hose) was used for the façade and roof in order for the design to feel natural and be able to take on patina and mature together with its setting among protected woodland.

Bridging state-of-the-art technology with existing ecosystems and producing potable water of the highest standard, this project, led by practice director Chad Oppenheim, highlights exactly how iconic architecture can be both subtle and work with nature. §

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