A treenitarian office building in the Novartis campus

Thesis title:
NOVARTIS  CAMPUS – VIRCHOW 18. A treenitarian office building in the Novartis campus.

Date of discussion:
15 April 2019

Federico Caramaschi

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)

Within the city of Basel, along the border with Germany and France, the production zones are changing into residential and tertiary zones. Novartis’s headquarters is shifting from an industrial plant to a corporate research campus that the masterplan by Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani organizes into a precise grid. The thesis project introduces a new axis, simply reducing one row of plots not yet built and providing new “green” connection, both in the scale of campus and the city. The “green axis” starts from the farmlands in France and, through the urban orchards, the university park, the Novartis Campus, the Rhein river, reaches the German agricultural lands to the east: a green path that symbolizes the traditional pharmaceutical plants’ production process, from agriculture to research. Virchow 18 is where the new axis meets the riverfront, the eastern gate of the Campus. As part of the Campus’ riverfront designed by Herzog & De Meuron, the high-rise office building introjects the alignment with the adjacent buildings and breaks its volume into blocks, with different structure, function and density. The disruption is healed by the composition of the façade and the plan that unify diverse volumes into one building. In parallel, the metaphor which compares the building to a tree is a bond between urban project, composition, technology and systems.

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