BIS calls for expressions of interest to develop Basel headquarters

Press release  | 
21 June 2021
  • BIS seeks to develop headquarters site in Basel around iconic Tower
  • Design should fit into cityscape and be environmentally sustainable
  • Project seeks to foster collaboration and modernise working and meeting facilities

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) today called for expressions of interest for the development of its headquarters site in Basel, Switzerland.

The BIS, which acts as a hub for central banks and other financial regulatory and supervisory authorities across the globe, is looking to modernise its current facilities to support new ways of working and meeting and bring all its Basel-based staff into one location to foster collaboration.

About 600 Basel-based BIS staff are split between the site around the Tower, which was designed by Martin Burckhardt and opened in 1977, and the Mario Botta-designed Botta building at Aeschenplatz. In addition to the Tower, which will remain, the primary site near Basel's main railway station includes four ageing and inefficient buildings.

The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of certain requirements such as the need to expand and modernise meeting facilities, consolidate Basel-based offices into a single campus and ensure a working environment which fosters collaboration.

"The BIS is committed to continuous improvement and innovation. We envision a modern, flexible workspace and meeting place that brings everyone together on a single campus site," said BIS General Manager Agustín Carstens.

"As an organisation, we foster a culture of diversity, inclusion, sustainability and social responsibility. In building for the future, we would like to see a design that is both environmentally sustainable and fits well into the cityscape and local surroundings. We welcome designs that will help us bring this vision to life."

A masterplan approved by city authorities in 2015 permits the BIS to build a total of up to 68,000 m² gross floor area above ground on the Tower site, including the existing Tower, which is 23,000 m2. The development will be in two stages, the first aimed at consolidating activities and the second at fully utilising the potential of the site if needed.

Interested architects from around the world are invited to apply for pre-qualification by 06 August 2021, demonstrating their skill level and experience with similar projects. A shortlist of applicants will be invited to participate in the architectural project study, a phase lasting about 12 months. If the BIS decides to proceed with one of the proposed projects, there will be a separate planning and approval process.

Update 24 September 2021: Shortlist of applicants for the architectural project study