1. Home
  2. /
  3. Industrial Architecture
  4. /
  5. Muttenz Water Purification Plant by Oppenheim Architecture

Muttenz Water Purification Plant by Oppenheim Architecture

Project name:
Water Purification Plant
Architecture firm:
Oppenheim Architecture Europe
Muttenz, Basel-Lanschaft, Switzerland
Börje Müller
Principal architect:
Chad Oppenheim, Beat Huesler
Design team:
Chad Oppenheim, Beat Huesler, Frederic Borruat, Alexsandra Melion
Tom McKeogh, Frederic Borruat, Alexsandra Melion. General Planer and Project Leader: CSD AG, Liestal, Switzerland. Water Technology Engineering: ENVIReau, aQaengineering. General Contractor Building: ERNE Bau AG. General Contractor Water Technology: WABAG, Wassertechnik AG
Interior design:
Oppenheim Architecture Europe
Built area:
2’025.00 m²
Site area:
2’180.00 m²
Design year:
2012 - 2015
Completion year:
Civil engineer:
Structural engineer:
Holinger AG, Liestal
Environmental & MEP:
CSD AG, Liestal, Switzerland
Oppenheim Architecture with City Planning Muttenz
Oppenheim Architecture
Oppenheim Architecture Europe
Tools used:
Shotcrete Consultant Greuter AG, Zürich, Switzerland
Reinforced concrete structure for the water tanks and main structure, with Pigmented Shotcrete shot on place
CHF 18.5 Mio
City of Muttenz (Einwohnergemeinde Muttenz)
Industrial Architecture

Oppenheim Architecture: Integrating an industrial plant with a protected forest led to a poetic synergy between the industrial and natural. The Muttenz Water Purification Plant harmoniously reconciles an industrial building, a protected ecosystem and a stringent budget. Commissioned by the City of Muttenz, the modern plant had to meet rigorous Swiss municipal standards and go through an approval process involving multiple stakeholders.

Our response satisfied all of the technical and safety requirements of this critical piece of infrastructure, but also invited a primeval and tactile experience reflecting the sanctity of water. The inherent tension between industrial processes and the delicate ecology of the site led to concealing the plant completely from the outside. Expressed as a tectonic fragment, weathered and carved by water, the structure and skin become one in contrast to the high-tech equipment inside.

The result is unexpected – a rock face made of shotcrete and colored by local minerals. A porous and continuous geological surface that merges with the forest, welcoming moss and elemental markings over time, requiring no maintenance. Entered through a cleft in the rock, the entry hall engages all the senses in the worship of water. Soaring walls capture shimmering light from overhead fissures and frame views back out to the forest. From this shrine, a ramp leads visitors to a first-floor gallery to witness the purification process inside. Drawing visitors from Europe and around the world, the project has created a landmark for the Basel region; one that educates and inspires visitors to celebrate the limited source of all life on this planet.

By Alfredo Gonzalez

Share on:

Related articles