Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron Signal Box auf dem Wolf, Basel, Switzerland 1988-95

  • Not on view

Signal Box auf dem Wolf sits among railway tracks adjacent to the eighteenth– and nineteenth–century walls of the Wolf–Gottesacker cemetery. Its concrete shell, insulated on the exterior, is wrapped with copper strips approximately eight inches wide that are twisted at certain places to admit daylight. While the copper creates a dynamic architectural skin, its functional role is to provide an electrostatic shield.

A signal box is a building from which railway signals and switches are controlled. Here the designation also seems to relate subjectively to this structure's scaleless boxlike form lacking typical windows, doors, and floor divisions. As a viewer moves around it, its lustrous twisted copper facade appears to change, a characteristic observable by travelers on passing trains. Like a battery with wires radiating from it, Signal Box auf dem Wolf emanates vague danger and poetic ambiguity.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, p. 76.
Copper and painted wood
41 5/8 x 19 1/8 x 12 1/8" (105.8 x 48.6 x 30.8 cm)
Model maker
Herzog & de Meuron, Basel
Object number
Architecture and Design

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