Novartis urban office building. The expansion of Novartis campus to Basel city

Thesis title:
NOVARTIS  CAMPUS – ElSASSERSTRASSE 156. Novartis urban office building. The expansion of Novartis campus to Basel city

Date of discussion:
19 December 2018

Nam Thai Bui

Francesca Battisti

Professors of the Studio
Francesca Battisti (Architectural Design)
Mauro Marinelli (Architectural Design)
Angela Silvia Pavesi (Technology and Design in BIM Environment)
Gianpaolo Rosati (Structural Design)
Noel Adolf Van Hattem (Technical Plants)
Narges Golkar (Complex Infrastructures)

New Graduates Prize, awarded by the Order of Architects of Milan annually

The St. Johann plant in Basel, headquarters of the Novartis pharmaceutical company, will be transformed from a production complex into a research and administration center. The entire campus master plan was designed by Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani with a vision of a European urban image in mind. Designing a new office building within the campus has been a challenging topic, an opportunity to address the contemporary debate on the relations between corporate campus and the city. “Elsässerstrasse 156” will take on a new topic: the campus integration with the city’s fabric. The L shape footprint is like a “border” between two worlds: elegant and neatly organized campus and not well-defined, remote urban street close to the France-Switzerland’s border. Located between Gehry’s Human Resource Center and a busy inter-territory motorway, the building becomes an “intermediate”, an “ordering device”, introducing many thresholds towards the campus: the project assumes the campus’ grid in its space-structure type to introject an “urban structure” inside the building. The grid gives certain flexibility to introduce a spectrum of interior spaces to adapt complexity of the context when moving from private to public realm. All spaces, directly perceivable and ambiguous ones, are designed to create a rich interior experience, exploring a way to reflect the context from interiors.

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