Multifunctional basement at the Novartis Campus

EBP has completed the planning for a ground-level park and a multifunctional basement facility as part of a project known as “The Square” at the Novartis Campus in Basel. The park includes a 30-by-8-meter, glass pavilion and an elegant stairway roof atop the basement facility.

The multifunctional basement serves mainly as a parking garage for bicycles and for selected vehicles. Other facilities include a public bathroom, a storage room and various plant rooms. The open entrances to the basement area include a ramp and two uniquely designed stairways.

Working in the capacity of a general planner, EBP completed the planning for the pavilion, the multifunctional basement area and the ground-level park together with the Stauffer Rösch Landscape Architecture Firm, with Stauffer Rösch assuming responsibility for planning the park while EBP oversaw the planning and site management for all structures in and below the park. Novartis Chief Architect Marco Serra designed the multifunctional basement area and stairway roof.

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The project’s basic design is characterized by curved lines, both on a large scale and on a small scale. Examples include the circular ceiling insets in the basement area, the pavilion’s rounded corners, the shape of the stairways and the waveform of the visible wall surfaces. This more organic shape naturally led to more demanding specifications in the context of planning all of the relevant structures and manufacturing all of the individual structural elements.

The concrete walls were made with white cement and an additional 4-percent concentration of white pigment. The walls’ waveform was executed using specially manufactured matrices and forms whose construction was highly demanding. That is why EBP was especially concerned in the context of planning to ensure that their construction could be completed as cost-effectively as possible, i.e. with a minimal number of form elements. Special galvanized rebar was used to prevent all protruding rebar from rust-staining the wall surfaces.

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The inside curve of the entrance ramp is outfitted with a wide curb to improve visibility and increase traffic safety. The curved ramp and curb are both independent, spiraling surfaces. The ramp’s ceiling follows these two surfaces at a constant vertical distance, effectively making it a combination of two parallel spirals.

The 9.5-meter ceiling span is also impressive – especially when one considers that the overlying park was filled with a 1.5-meter layer of soil. This required a general ceiling thickness of 80 centimeters, with strategically placed circular recesses, where the thickness is only 40 centimeters, to create a space for the circular lights designed by Licht Kunst that help to give the basement area its unmistakable character.

Picture Credits: ADRIANO A. BIONDO -

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