The Novartis Pavilion: Architecture at the Service of Science and Art – Aurore de Granier – Go Out!

On April 30, the Novartis Pavilion opened its doors and wrote a new page in the history of the Novartis Campus Basel. This meeting place, conceived as a space for collective learning about pharmaceutical sciences but also the future of the healthcare system, will host meetings and events, but also exhibitions. The building, designed by AMDL CIRCLE and the Milanese architect and designer Michele de Lucchi, is characterized by its futuristic character, both in its architectural design and in its conception. UFO am Rheinufer, the pavilion was built using materials and methods that share a desire for durability. But the most marvelous thing is undoubtedly its luminous, solar-powered media façade, which already hosts digital works, starting with the building’s opening with a creation by Spanish artist Daniel Canogar. When architecture becomes the link between disciplines.

The Novartis Pavilion, a new flagship from Archi-Design

The Novartis campus in Basel got even bigger last April when the newest building, the Novartis Pavilion, opened on the 30th. At the heart of this project is the desire to make science accessible to everyone, to bring the visitor to this futuristic place to talk to them about the pharmaceutical industry but also about the future of healthcare, to let them enter a universe in learning in this area is no longer niche and elitist, but open to all. To give shape to this dream, the architects of the AMDL CIRCLE, together with the Milanese designer Michele de Lucchi, imagined a dome made of wood, glass and metal, a structure worthy of a science fiction film and delicate on the banks of the Rhine was placed. and directly accessible via the St. Johanns-Hafen-Weg. Divided into two floors, the building is intended to fulfill different functions. The ground floor of the pavilion, intended primarily to serve as a meeting space, consists of a large central foyer that will host meetings and conferences on scientific topics in the future, with a program that, if not yet known, promises to be rich . But this first floor is above all an exhibition space, the SchoolHub, dedicated to science and allowing you to explore its different facets thanks to augmented reality. The space was then conceived as an open, airy foyer in which wood occupies a prominent place. The fully glazed building lets in natural light, giving the space an airy dimension and a sense of openness. The first floor is the centerpiece of the pavilion, where the multimedia exhibition “Wonders of Medicine” can be seen. We let ourselves be guided by the configuration of the places that lead us from one end of the exhibition to the other, giving us the opportunity to discover an architecture that is as futuristic as it is sustainable.

© Novartis

A sustainable building looking to the future

At the core of this project was the desire to create a new place that showcases the wonders of science without negatively impacting the planet through its construction. For this reason, AMDL CIRCLE and Michele Lucchi have given a high priority to sustainable techniques and materials in this project, which, however, does not lose its resolutely futuristic architectural character. The first thing that catches your eye is the facade. An impressive glass dome that both lets natural light into the building and houses a digital exhibition. This aspect of the project was crucial for Novartis, but it also had to be compatible with sustainable construction. “The luminosity of this zero-energy luminous media façade is guaranteed by a veil of photovoltaic cells and LED lamps, which are operated sustainably with solar power. The lighting effect of the facade is created by a minimal light contrast to the surroundings. The ambient light is continuously measured and the slightly more intensive lighting of the building is continuously adjusted. This reduces energy consumption,” explains the Novartis team. Beyond this technology, the building also showcases sustainable materials such as wood, which plays a key role in the design of the pavilion. It is in fact this material that was chosen to make the entire structure. For designer Michele de Lucchi, “the combination of natural materials and technology is a way of creating the perfect environment for encounters”. A design that is as durable as it is welcoming to the public, the ideal place to showcase art.

Daniel Canogar’s Oculus animation on the Novartis Pavilion

Contemporary art in the open air

If science is at the heart of this project, art has pride of place in this new building. The famous zero-energy luminous facade was chosen for its ability to accommodate digital artwork. Thanks to its 30,000 LEDs, it is able to display text and images without using any energy. At sunset, for 30 minutes every day, the facade is the spectacle of works specially designed for the site. All linked to science, they create a bridge between these two worlds thanks to the architecture of the building. Since April 30, the pavilion has also been an open-air gallery for the three European artists Daniel Canogar, Esther Hunziker and the duo Semiconductor. The Spanish artist Daniel Canogar invites us to discover his project oculus, an abstract animation that reacts to climate changes in real time. Thanks to an algorithm developed by his studio oculus is able to analyze data from various meteorological bases ranging from carbon dioxide levels in the air to melting of the polar ice cap to temperature anomalies or even fires. This data is then visually reinterpreted for a work that tells us about the climate catastrophe, designed on a sustainably designed building. The circle is complete.


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