Licht Kunst Licht AG
Offices & Administration


Basel, Switzerland
Ilg Santer Architekten, Zurich
Hochbau- und Planungsamt Basel
University of Basel
Project size
23,400 sqm effective area
Daisuke Hirabayashi
Overall building budget
approx. 400 million euros
Lighting budget
approx. 5 million euros

Cutting Edge Research in a Modern Prestigious Building – Biozentrum Basel

The new Biozentrum in Basel was handed over to the University of Basel at the beginning of 2021 and will start regular classes in autumn 2021. The high-tech building designed by Ilg Santer Architekten from Zurich, represents a state-of-the-art research facility within a prestigious academic building.

The modern tower for the new Biozentrum extends over 19 floors, of which three are under ground, while ten floors are reserved for research. In addition to the Biozentrum, the building also houses the university computer center, lecture halls, seminar rooms as well as a public cafeteria. Thanks to innovative and user-oriented lighting design, the Biozentrum is featured both architecturally and functionally as a high-tech and future-oriented building.

On the ten floors dedicated to research, laboratories have been planned in which scientists and research groups find their workplaces. By using linear profile lights with multi-lensed covers, powerful illumination is made possible in the rooms to create an adequate working atmosphere, while remaining glare-free. Profile luminaires are also used in the offices, which were specially designed for the project on the basis of an existing technology, but have also integrated an indirect component. In addition to focused lighting of the work surface, this also ensures ample ambient lighting of the entire room. In the area close to the facade, these lights are also an essential part of the building’s nocturnal exterior appearance and allow the striking structure to shine from the inside. In the central zones of the respective floors, where social, meeting and seminar areas are located, ceiling-mounted luminaires ensure uniform and symmetric lighting of the open-plan room layouts. By flexibly dimming the diffuse and direct light components, different moods can be created and the lighting can be adapted to the individual needs of different users or occasions.

The entrance hall forms the visual heart of the building. It extends over three floors and connects the Biozentrum’s above and below ground levels. The hall was designed as a publicly accessible space; a spacious and light-flooded arrival and meeting hall with a direct connection to the exterior. The use of downlights in the ceiling enables flexible general lighting.

For the lecture halls and seminar rooms in the basement, the same novel luminaire was used as in the central zones. This ceiling-mounted luminaire, specially developed for the property, is the result of a cooperation between Ilg Santer Architekten and Licht Kunst Licht. The production of the luminaire was realized by Regent. Complemented by ceiling-recessed accent lights in the classrooms to illuminate the blackboards and LED lights in the furniture to illuminate the stairs, a holistic, coherent overall picture is created.

Because the new Biozentrum was built on a public square, comfort and quality of stay for visitors and passers-by were key design elements in the exterior design. A balanced lighting of this area by three-headed pole lights facilitates orientation and security, while offering an invitation to linger. Overall, all luminaires are equipped with LEDs, so that a sustainable and efficient design could be implemented.