The St. Johann area owned by Novartis in Basle is to be transformed from a production site into a research and administration center. An arrangement capable of remaining sustainable on a long-term basis is to be introduced into the structural and aesthetic arbitrariness of a factory area that developed without any particular planning. Future architectural interventions are to be coordinated with one another in order to promote economic and functional sense.
A far-reaching change in usage, which has already begun but is not yet reflected in the architecture language of the site, is to be given a suitable framework for development. The company had the ambition to create an attractive location in which employees can be invited to work together in a new, creative, and communicative fashion. The plan for the approximately 20-hectare area between Voltastrasse, Elsässerstrasse, and the Rhine envisages a simple, orthogonal structure. The new urbanization project is separated from the esplanade on the Rhine so that the latter can remain public, but at the same time is oriented towards the river. To the west of the historic Fabrikstrasse, the whole length – more than 600 meters – will be developed into a prestigious avenue with restaurants, cafés, and shops to form the social backbone for the “Knowledge Campus;” existing architecture will largely be preserved, including the high-rise towers, which will be supplemented with additional high-rise office and research buildings. On the east, in contrast, regular building with an eaves height of 22 meters and with a continuous arcade is planned. The most important public spaces – the forum, green, and piazzetta – will directly adjoin Fabrikstrasse. Through traffic of any type will be kept strictly away from the campus, and the street space will be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists.
Studio di Architettura, Milano
2000, Realization: 2003 ff.
Novartis International AG
Peter Walker and Partners