The Novartis building by Gehry Partners is part of the Masterplan for Novartis, designed by Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani, that will transform the St. Johann site, its headquarters in Basel, from an industrial complex to a campus of innovation, knowledge and encounter.
The new campus will offer Novartis employees and visitors an environment for intensive levels of communication and work, which is ultra-modern, very functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
The Gehry building occupies a central location with the Campus Green and the Novartis Headquarters located to the south of the building.
The concept of openness, spaces flowing together, played a major factor in the design. The public areas, a restaurant and café, are located on the ground floor, which opens to the Campus Green. The Human Resources Departments occupy the five upper levels with a number of small public areas to encourage people to meet spontaneously for coffee or to hold informal meetings.
Below ground is the Learning Factory for all campus employees, and a 600-seat auditorium with a glass ceiling and skylight connecting it to the Campus Green above. The auditorium can be divided into two separate rooms to hold simultaneous functions.
A central atrium unites the building sections and reinforces visibility by allowing natural light to flow from the roof through all office floors and down to the underground levels where the auditorium lobby is located. The concept of openness and transparency is reinforced by the use of glass in the building’s exterior design.
The large sail-like shades inside reduce solar gain and glare and operable windows and large sliding glass doors on the ground floor encourage natural ventilation on warm summer days.
The development of the architecture and the materials used exemplifies Novartis’s commitment to the environment. To reduce direct solar heat gain the glass facades are coated with ceramic frits and the glass roof panels contain photovoltaic cells that generate the energy necessary to power artificial lighting for the building.
The long-term Masterplan by Vittorio Lampugnani includes not only architecture and landscaping but also functional, traffic-planning, and cultural considerations. The conversion will proceed in stages with the replacement of obsolete buildings taking place on a step by step basis. Other buildings on the campus are also by international architects. The campus landscape architects are Peter Walker and Günther Vogt Landscape Architects.
The 20 hectares site will eventually house a staff of 10,000 in the areas of Group Services, Pharmaceuticals, Research & Development, Marketing and Administration. The Novartis campus will be a pioneer of the high performance workplace.