The Villa

Created in a neo-baroque style, the mansion at Gellertstrasse 27 was built in 1873 and complemented by a garden veranda in 1896. The house is located in the former residential quarter 'Gellert', where only few mansions have been preserved, as most of them had to give way to new apartment buildings. The original building owner was Hermann La Roche-Burckhardt (1842-1921), back then 31 years old. Johann Jakob Stehlin-Burckhardt the younger (son of mayor Johann Jakob Stehlin the elder) is the architect of the mansion. He also developed the plan for land utilization in the area. Back then, the 'Gellert'-quarter was located outside of the city wall; here, the city’s wealthy families had their orchards and vineyards (see Rolf Brönnimann, Basler Bauten 1860-1910. Basel 1973 and 1982). The quarter is not named after the German poet Christian Fürchtegott Gellert, but the name 'Gellert' is derived from 'Göllhart' ('göll' is an old word for light or open), and once meant 'cleared woodland area' ("gerodete Hard"). For safety reasons, the forest area outside of the city wall (the "Glacis") had been cleared already for a long time (see National-Zeitung, 7 December 1943).

Building owner La Roche remained the mansion's landlord for more than fifty years until he died in 1921. In 1922, the 31-year-old businessman Carl Koechlin (1889-1969), who later became president of the J.R. Geigy AG’s Administrative Council and president of the Chamber of Commerce, took over. His descendants offered the University to use the prestigious building for their purposes. As is well-known, Basel's Alma Mater has always profited from a generous patronage. However, it was not only an 'old house' that was provided, but also the necessary funds to reconstruct the mansion’s interior, so that it would meet the needs of the future institute: The spacious kitchen was transformed into a plenary room that is now used for teaching and hosting conferences or workshops, and was equipped with an atrium. The Institute, which was established in 1992/93 and began its work when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in the fall of 1993, was first located in interim arrangements (the Stadt-Casino in Basel's city center). Since 1995, the Europainstitut / Institute for European Global Studies has the pleasure to be domiciled in this wonderful mansion with its large and beautiful garden.