NOVARTIS CAMPUS – SERRA RECEPTION BUILDING AND PARKING, Basel

 

Awards:

Award of Excellence 2009
IES Illumination Awards
Illuminating Engineering Society of North America

Award of Merit 2009
IALD International Lighting Design Awards
International Association of Lighting Designers



Architects:   Marco Serra, Basel
Ernst Basler & Partner, Zurich
Client:   Novartis Pharma AG
Occupant:   Novartis Pharma AG
Completion:   2007
Project size:   21,400 m²
Photos:   Lukas Roth

Publication:
 
Werkbericht - Licht Kunst Licht 3  >>

 


A Brilliant Welcome - The Reception Building and Underground Car Park of the Novartis Campus in Basel


The corporate group now welcomes visitors with a new entrance area, where architecture, light and landscape design skilfully intertwine; an underground facility as bright as day welcomes visitors arriving by car; pedestrians and those coming by tram are received in an elegant glass pavilion set in the company's own park.

The lighting concept for the underground parking places supports the architect's intention of creating a pleasant atmosphere and of using high-grade finishes in order to provide the garage with interior design qualities. The homogeneous illumination with no dark shadows enhances the feeling of personal security. Instead of the wide-spread use of cold fluorescent light a warmer tone similar to that from incandescent lamps has been chosen.

The exterior walls of the underground car park are encased on the inside in floor-to-ceiling stainless steel panels with a finely nubbed surface texture that glistens in a shade of champagne gold. Like scales, the 8-metre-long panels peel away from the wall and lean out gently into the space. Emanating from the vertical joint between wall and panel, a homogeneous glow immerses the stainless steel surfaces in a soft grazing light. Since the luminance abates towards the end of the panel and then suddenly increases at the next groove, a regular rhythm articulates the wall surfaces.
Downlights serve to illuminate the car lane. They are mounted flush in the concrete ceiling and enhance visual comfort with good cut-off qualities and a wide, homogeneous light beam that softly ebbs away towards the parking spaces.
Contrasting with the panelled exterior walls the stairwells retain their exposed concrete surface. They too are highlighted with grazing light to underscore their texture. Here, however, the light emanates from flush mounted LEDs in a cool white light colour similar to daylight, which indicates that the stairwells lead to the outside.

The reception building lies like a crystal in the park. Occupying only a small area and fully glazed on all four sides, it appears exceptionally transparent. A slender white roof slab cantilevers far out from the façade, extending a gesture of welcome to visitors.
At night the roof slab achieves its full impact. Bathed in even light from below, the white surface appears to float in mid-air and landmarks the campus entrance from afar. It is so potent as an architectural element as to make any additional luminous sign superfluous. The light originates in part from linear uplights floor-recessed adjacent to heat convectors immediately behind the façade.