A tour of the latest developments at the Novartis Campus

Andrea Klettner assesses a place of innovation, knowledge and encounter at the pharmaceutical giant's headquarters
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View from the Forum towards Offices for Technical and Development Functions

1 / 30 View from the Forum towards Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Facade, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

2 / 30 Facade, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Interior staircase (l) and exterior facade (r), Offices for Technical and Development Functions

3 / 30 Interior staircase (l) and exterior facade (r), Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Tapas bar in the Offices for Technical and Development Functions

4 / 30 Tapas bar in the Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Interior, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

5 / 30 Interior, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

6 / 30

View of the Forum (l-r) Visitor Centre, Peter Märkli; Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise,

7 / 30 View of the Forum (l-r) Visitor Centre, Peter Märkli; Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise,

Brodbeck & Bony/Eckstein & Kelterborn, Forum 1, Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

8 / 30 Brodbeck & Bony/Eckstein & Kelterborn, Forum 1, Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

Reception building at the main gate

9 / 30 Reception building at the main gate

Artist: Eva Schlegel, Reception Building Walkway (2007)

10 / 30 Artist: Eva Schlegel, Reception Building Walkway (2007)

Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

11 / 30 Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

12 / 30 Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Visitor Centre

13 / 30 Visitor Centre

Auditorium in visitors centre

14 / 30 Auditorium in visitors centre

Courtyard Facade

15 / 30 Courtyard Facade

Interior Courtyard and Bridge

16 / 30 Interior Courtyard and Bridge

Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise

17 / 30 Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise

Internal Circulation Space

18 / 30 Internal Circulation Space

19 / 30

Osteria Dodici Restaurant, Development IT & Operations

20 / 30 Osteria Dodici Restaurant, Development IT & Operations

Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

21 / 30 Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

22 / 30 Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

23 / 30 Interior view, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

Restaurant Choice, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

24 / 30 Restaurant Choice, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

25 / 30

Interior and exterior views of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

26 / 30 Interior and exterior views of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

Interior view of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

27 / 30 Interior view of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

Restaurant Cloud, Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

28 / 30 Restaurant Cloud, Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

View of the Fabrikstrasse, the main artery of Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

29 / 30 View of the Fabrikstrasse, the main artery of Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

Aerial view of the campus (2010), Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

30 / 30 Aerial view of the campus (2010), Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

View from the Forum towards Offices for Technical and Development Functions

1 / 30 View from the Forum towards Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Facade, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

2 / 30 Facade, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Interior staircase (l) and exterior facade (r), Offices for Technical and Development Functions

3 / 30 Interior staircase (l) and exterior facade (r), Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Tapas bar in the Offices for Technical and Development Functions

4 / 30 Tapas bar in the Offices for Technical and Development Functions

Interior, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

5 / 30 Interior, Offices for Technical and Development Functions

6 / 30

View of the Forum (l-r) Visitor Centre, Peter Märkli; Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise,

7 / 30 View of the Forum (l-r) Visitor Centre, Peter Märkli; Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise,

Brodbeck & Bony/Eckstein & Kelterborn, Forum 1, Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

8 / 30 Brodbeck & Bony/Eckstein & Kelterborn, Forum 1, Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

Reception building at the main gate

9 / 30 Reception building at the main gate

Artist: Eva Schlegel, Reception Building Walkway (2007)

10 / 30 Artist: Eva Schlegel, Reception Building Walkway (2007)

Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

11 / 30 Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

12 / 30 Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Visitor Centre

13 / 30 Visitor Centre

Auditorium in visitors centre

14 / 30 Auditorium in visitors centre

Courtyard Facade

15 / 30 Courtyard Facade

Interior Courtyard and Bridge

16 / 30 Interior Courtyard and Bridge

Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise

17 / 30 Offices for Cardiovascular Business Franchise

Internal Circulation Space

18 / 30 Internal Circulation Space

19 / 30

Osteria Dodici Restaurant, Development IT & Operations

20 / 30 Osteria Dodici Restaurant, Development IT & Operations

Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

21 / 30 Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

22 / 30 Interior view, Novartis Institute for BioMedical Research

Interior view, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

23 / 30 Interior view, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

Restaurant Choice, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

24 / 30 Restaurant Choice, Chemical & Analytical Development and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics

25 / 30

Interior and exterior views of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

26 / 30 Interior and exterior views of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

Interior view of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

27 / 30 Interior view of Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

Restaurant Cloud, Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

28 / 30 Restaurant Cloud, Novartis Human Resources, IT Training Centre and Reading Hall

View of the Fabrikstrasse, the main artery of Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

29 / 30 View of the Fabrikstrasse, the main artery of Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

Aerial view of the campus (2010), Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland

30 / 30 Aerial view of the campus (2010), Novartis headquarters campus, Basel, Switzerland


The new headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Novartis in Basel, Switzerland boasts buildings by some of the world's most famous architects. Under the leadership of Novartis ex-chief executive officer (now Chairman) Daniel Vasella, the firm has commissioned, among others, Frank Gehry, Peter Maerkli, SANAA and local outfit Diener & Diener to work on its St Johann site, creating unique buildings designed to specific requirements. Originally based on a masterplan by Italian architect Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani which encompasses 22 new buildings, over the last ten years the campus has developed into a cutting-edge workplace combining laboratories, communication and administrative capabilities.

The first new building to open on the site (in 2005) was Forum 3, by Basel-based Diener & Diener. Set next to to the campus entrance, the building functions as a landmark for visitors and also represents the rebirth of the urban quarter - as well as the corporation. As an alternative to the ubiquitous curtain wall, a unique veil of multi-layered glass wraps the full height of the office building. The glass varies in hue, thickness and size, allowing for multiple readings of the facade: close up it fractures into solid pains of glass; from afar the partially super-imposed layers lend the veil a blurred appearance.

The official visitor's centre by Maerkli is one of the main attractions of the campus. The building comprises the Swiss architect's strict geometric external structure integrated with an LED facade by American artist Jenny Holzer. Inside, the distinctive bannisters have been designed by fellow Swiss architect Alex Herter.

Nearby, Frank Gehry's new building – the sixth structure to open on the site - occupies a central location at the intersection of Fabrikstrasse, the campus' main pedestrian street. The building encompasses Gehry's distinctive style over three basement floors and five upper floors, as well as a mezzanine level. The glass facades integrate photovoltaic cells- powering the artificial light for the building - and on the ground floor the glass doors open onto the green, allowing for natural ventilation. Below ground the basements include a 630-seat auditorium with a large glass skylight, as well as a learning centre used by the company for staff training. On the ground floor a 200-seat restaurant, Cloud, provides an informal dining area while the upper levels provide office space and break-out areas.

2010 Pritzker Prize winning firm SANAA was also selected to design an office building for the campus. The Japanese practice planned the six-storey building to contain a series of office spaces, a cafe and archives, all around a large courtyard. Upon completion in 2006 SANAA said: 'We created the space with soft division by the structural walls while maintaining the visual unity, making the plan in some way a new type of open-plan. The thinness of the building relates to a high degree of transparency and the courtyard provides ample natural light to the office space that floats in the greens.'

Two of the latest buildings finished on the site are British architect David Chipperfield's five-storey facilitating laboratory research space, and the Maki Building, designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki. Maki's offering sits over seven floors, with storage areas below ground. Inside, the offices located across different floors are opened up to one another by spaces that span more than one level. Interestingly, no walls obstruct the office floors, which are all contained by glass surfaces.

And the work is not yet done with buildings on site due from Vitra Haus architect Herzog & de Meuron and OMA's Rem Koolhaas. As a result of these high-end commissions public interest in the campus has soard and in the last few months more than 20,000 people have taken part in public tours (to book a place contact Basel Tourism).

 

Andrea Klettner is a freelance journalist and the editor of Love London Council Housing


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