Novartis Laboratory Building
David Chipperfield 

Novartis Laboratory Building

David Chipperfield 


The research and production site in Basel for the pharmaceutical company Novartis has been transformed and extended into a new campus. The master plan for the area, situated between the River Rhine and the French border, was developed by the architect Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani. The overall project comprises office buildings as well as research and production facilities, all designed by different architects.

The building developed by David Chipperfield Architects consists of a five-story laboratory building located on Fabrikstraße, the principal artery of the new campus. The building commands a central position on the intersection with a new east-west axis leading towards the River Rhine. The footprint of the building, its overall building height and the height of the ground floor were fixed within the master plan. Envisioned as a laboratory of the future, the building had to take into consideration flexibility for shared and temporary workspaces and fluid transitions between areas for experimentation and regular workspaces.

The facade, the two building cores, and concrete beams provide the supporting structure. The beams span twenty-seven meters and contain technical services, allowing for a column-free floor plan. This spatial configuration offers flexibility and adaptability within which new laboratory concepts may be explored. The external structure is made of precast concrete with faceted columns. The concept adopts the theme of the colonnade, a recurrent motif on the campus. The faceting varies between smooth and rough finishes, and its orientation causes differing shadows. Continuous floor-height glazing placed within this external grid provides ample daylight for all the workspaces.

A restaurant is located on the ground floor, surrounded to the north and west by a colonnade that functions as an element of transition with the public space and underscores the urban image of the building within the Novartis campus. A sculptural stair designed by Ross Lovegrove connects the three laboratory floors with a flexible office level on the top floor. All offices are placed around a roof garden, which contains the permanent installation ‘Molecular (BASEL),’ a late work by the artist Serge Spitzer.


Obra Work

Novartis Laboratory Building

Cliente Client

Novartis Pharma AG

Arquitectos Architects

David Chipperfield Architects Berlin;

David Chipperfield, Harald Müller, Alexander Schwarz (director de diseño design lead) —socios partners—; Christian Helfrich, Robert Westphal (directores de proyecto project architects), Markus Bauer, Wolfgang Baumeister, Lena Ehringhaus, Niccolo Genesio, Gesche Gerber, Ulrich Hannen, Paul Hillerkus, Nicolas Kulemeyer, Astrid Kühn, Sebastian von Oppen, Asa Awad Osman, Martina Pongratz, Stefanie Schleipen, Gunda Schulz (equipo de proyecto project team);

Colaboradores Collaborators

Burckhardt + Partner (ejecución executive architect); OTB, Eurolabors (contratista general contractor); WaltGalmarini (estructura structural engineer); Fact, gb consult (instalaciones services engineer); Gruner (física y acústica del edificio building physics, acoustics); Schweizerisches Institut zur Förderung der Sicherheit (incendios fire consultant); gkp Fassadentechnik (fachada facade consultant); matí Lichtgestaltung (iluminación lighting consultant); Dr. Heinekamp Labor- und Institutsplanung (laboratorio laboratory consultant); Mifflin-Schmid Design (señalética signage); Wirtz International (paisajismo landscape architect); Serge Spitzer, Molecular (BASEL), 2002-2008 (arte artwork); Ross Lovegrove (diseño escalera de laboratorio design laboratory stair)

Fotos Photo

Simon Menges, Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects