Fondation Beyeler (Beyeler Foundation Art Museum)
Baselstrasse 101
CH-4125 Riehen
(near Basel)

Renzo Piano 1997

Renzo Piano has built for the Beyeler Foundation probably the most civilized art gallery or museum in the world. Serene and tranquil both inside and out, the building is exciting in itself without in any way competing with the art it displays. Sitting on the sofa provided and contemplating the Monet on the opposite wall, with an uninterrupted expanse of light oak floor between, the filtered light streaming in from the glazed wall onto the garden and reflecting pool, you have the wonderful sensation of enjoying a Monet in your sitting room, not trudging round an art gallery.

The ceiling is glazed throughout the building, providing indirect natural light in all the galleries. The simple elegance and detailing of the lit ceilings hides a five-foot space above, in which electrically controlled louvers, artificial lighting and the roof of brise-soleil are used to control the light in the galleries.

At the building ends the glass roof extends generously beyond the glass walls and a further row of pillars, over the reflecting pool and the real-life water-lilies outside.


Renzo Piano has built on the successful tranquility of this gallery with a similar plan for the 2004 Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.

Simon Glynn 2001 (updated 2004)


How to visit

The Fondation Beyeler is a tram ride of 15-20 minutes from the center of Basel (Basle). Take Tram No. 2 from either the Bahnhof SBB (on the Swiss rail network) or the Badischer Bahnhof (on the German rail network), to Riehen Dorf. The museum is right across the street.

There is a car park ('Parkhaus Zentrum') opposite the museum.

The Fondation Beyeler web site has comprehensive visitor information, as well as further English-language information about the building and photographs, at Or telephone the museum on +41 61 645 9700 for up-to-date information on opening times.

The Fondation does not allow photography within the building, and will even require you to lock your camera in a locker rather than carry it with you.


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