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Basel Estate with English Landscape Park: Ebenrain Castle in Sissach | Basel Supplier Baukultur # 71

Places reserved for Basel are not recent generations. Even before 1800, the area was rare, at least for some construction projects. The young Baselois Martin Bachofen joined in 1748 in the factory of his father. The company produced silk ribbons and traded with them. The business flourished – it needed a representative building. Stylistically announced was the baroque architecture that was about to expire. For a spacious complex with several buildings and gardens missing in the city but just the place, that is why the architect of Basel Samuel Werenfels Bachofen "built the presentation" moored in Sissach.

Courtyard with main building, Ebenrain Castle, Sissach © Simon Heiniger / Architecture Basel

The factory dates from its construction in 1776 from a main building with two floors and two buildings perpendicular to the side; Together they took the so-called "Ehrenhof" pavement. The open south side was enclosed by a beautiful wrought iron fence and a lattice door. The north facade of the main building comprises seven axes with a medium, three-part gabled height. The buildings had huge hipped roofs with slate roofs with large and small dormers. Two chimneys form the upper conclusion. In the adjacent buildings were the gardener's apartments and the tenants. The complex also included an orangery. At the west entrance, we find a barn attached to the flanking construction. This includes a small tower with a sloping roof.

Court with main and auxiliary buildings, Ebenrain Castle, Sissach © Simon Heiniger / Architecture Basel

To the north and south of the complex, the Bernese architect Niklaus Sprüngli created what no place in the city could offer: a baroque garden. The construction of the castle was still blocked in the last corners of the Baroque. The district was therefore rebuilt with time and was rebuilt in 1805 in the south and 1817 in the north in an English garden. The subsequent owner, Albert Hübner, of Mulhouse, made further changes to the system, but in particular he enlarged the garden in 1872 to make it an English landscape park. The northern entrance has received a gatehouse. A peasant, even a gazebo on an island, an aviary and greenhouses were added, but unfortunately we did not survive.

Gatehouse at the entrance, Schloss Ebenrain, Sissach © Simon Heiniger / Architektur Basel

As a "typical Basel mansion", the Basel Heritage Conservation Agency describes Schloss Ebenrain. In particular, Basler Barock, retained, would describe the buildings as such. Despite the transformation of the French design garden into English – or simply because of different adaptations of architectural styles typical of the time and place, the castle of Ebenrain – now in possession of the canton of Basel-Country – enjoys the highest protection status. The Federal Inventory of Swiss Sites of National Importance to Preserve ISOS attributes these buildings to be of paramount importance, both architecturally and historically, and in terms of spatial quality. The evaluation requires the preservation of the substance. This means that: Buildings, parts of installations and open spaces must be fully preserved. Coarse interventions are in fact prohibited.

Of course, ISOS not only classifies buildings in detail, but also the entire system. For example, the gatehouse to the north is not described in detail. We find, in conclusion or beginning of the plant, that this nevertheless constitutes an important clue, even if it is not executed in detail as precisely as the remaining parts of the plant. The avenue of plane trees to the south serves as a counterpart to the north access. The court of honor will be extended optically infinitely on an uphill ground. Well, if it was not a good choice of location, right?

Text: Simon Heiniger / Architecture Basel

Ebenrain Castle
Address: Itingerstrasse 13-17a, 4450 Sissach
Architecture: Samuel Werenfels (Basel)
Baroque Garden: Niklaus Sprüngli (Bern)
Year of construction: 1774-1776
Reconstruction of the castle and the garden: 1803/1817 + 1872, Édouard André (Paris)
Renovation / renovation: 1934-1942 + 1986-1989
Function: public park and courtyard, meeting rooms

Photos and Movies:
– © Simon Heiniger / Architecture Basel
– Heusser Sibylle, ISOS Office (2008), ISOS Sissach, Federal Office of Culture BAK, Homeland Security and Historic Preservation Section, (no ISBN available).
– Cantonal Inventory of Protected Cultural Monuments Basel-Landschaft