© Photo: Gaston Wicky

© Photo: Gaston Wicky

© Photo: Gaston Wicky

The Architecture

The Kunsthaus Pasquart was opened in 1990 in the former hospital of the city of Biel, with the aim of promoting current artistic production.

The Centre Pasquart building complex is structured in three parts: the oldest and what is today the central part was built in 1866 as the first hospital in Biel and provides the site with its classical historicist style. A west wing, used today as studios, was added in 1955 for the accommodation of an old people’s home.

Following the move of Kunsthaus Pasquart into the oldest building in 1990, this was extended 10 years later. The renovation of the former hospital and an extension to the eastern end were carried out by the winners of the open competition, the Basel architectural practice of Diener&Diener.

The extension is connected to the former hospital by the existing stairwell. The resulting fusion allows three levels of varying heights in the extension that cleverly weave with the floors in the old building. The entrance area on the ground floor of the new building provides via its large glass front visual contact with the Jura mountains, at the foot of which the building is situated. The first floor (the Galleries) is structured in three spaces, each with two diagonally facing windows. The second floor (the Salle Poma, named after the donor, Paul Ariste Poma, whose generosity made the extension possible) is lit exclusively by overhead lighting whose harmonious regularity provides the room, with its 365 m2 surface area and 5.80 m high walls, with calm and clarity.

The artists who exhibit their work here are almost unrestricted in how they can use the spaces.

The architectural practice Diener&Diener were awarded the Bern Cultural Prize ATU (Architecture, Technicalitiy and Environment) in 2000.