Actelion Research and Laboratory Building
Allschwil, Switzerland
Project 2007-2010, realization 2009-2013

Through its rapid expansion, Actelion is playing a pivotal role in the development and transformation of the old industrial area in Allschwil, on the western fringes of Basel, into an innovative life science park – the "I-Parc". The new laboratory and office facility complements the two existing Actelion buildings, the Business Center by Herzog & de Meuron (2005-10) and the large Allschwil Innovation Center.

With its simple, forthright outward expression of function, the new Actelion Research and Laboratory building clearly takes its cue from modernist industrial architecture.

The restrained use of architectural detail also generates a counterpoint to the Business Center, whose exuberant, idiosyncratic geometry symbolizes and promotes the diverse interactions between Actelion's employees and visitors. While the Business Center is a one-off project, the Actelion Research and Laboratory was developed as a prototype for a possible Actelion standard.

The elongated massing of the Actelion Research and Laboratory building is a product of the stepped profile necessitated by the planning and zoning regulations, the required set-backs from the neighbouring land and the slight offset between the two original plots. The volume is divided horizontally by a sequence of floor slabs cantilevered beyond the façades. The undulating cross-sectional shape of the floor slabs reflects the moment distribution from the horizontal and vertical forces caused by raking back the structure. The balcony slabs, which project to various widths beyond the façade, provide shade against the overhead sun. The expansive, full-height glazing allows the interior to merge with the outdoor environment.

Communication zones are located on all levels at either end of the building. Voluminous helical stairs penetrate the floor slabs to afford views through and encourage communication and interaction between the different departments. The sculptural quality of these winding stairs contrasts with the simplicity and restraint of the remaining architecture.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2010


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach
Project Architects: Martin Fröhlich (Associate), Michael Fischer (Associate), Martin Krapp, Christian Schmitt
Project Team: Pascal Bögli, Ufuk Celik, Christian Dehli, Carmen Eichenberger, Catherina Gebel, Guillaume Henry, Roman Hutter, Hauke Jungjohann, Melk Nigg, Kevin Peter, Mónica Sedano Peralta, Tanjo Klöpper, Ralf Schwaller, Hamit Kaplan, Dulcineia Neves dos Santos, Hendrik Steinigeweg, Jolanta Szybiak, Andreas Thoma, Romy Weber

Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Allschwil, Switzerland

General Planning: Gruner AG, Ingenieure und Planer, Basel, Switzerland
Architect Planning: Herzog & de Meuron, Basel, Switzerland
Laboratory Planning: Gruner AG, Ingenieure und Planer, Basel, Switzerland; Gruneko AG, Ingenieure für Energiewirtschaft, Basel, Switzerland
Structural Engineering and Construction Management:Gruner AG, Ingenieure und Planer, Basel, Switzerland
HVAC and Plumbing Engineering Gruneko AG, Ingenieure für Energiewirtschaft, Basel, Switzerland
Mechanical Engineering: TRANSSOLAR Energietechnik GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany ; Gruneko AG, Ingenieure für Energiewirtschaft, Basel, Switzerland
Electrical Engineering: Scherler AG Beratende Ingenieure, Basel, Switzerland
Landscape Design: Tita Giese, Düsseldorf, Germany

Specialist / Consulting:
Facade Consulting: PPEngineering, Basel, Switzerland
Building Physics, Geometrician, Traffic Planning, Safety Consulting, Acoustics and Fire Protection: Gruner AG, Ingenieure und Planer, Basel, Switzerland
Lighting: Mati AG, Adliswil, Switzerland

Building Data:
Site Area: 6,000sqm / 64,627sqft
Building Footprint: 4,000sqm / 43,056sqft
Building Dimensions: Length 135m / 442ft, Width 30m / 98ft, Height 22m / 72m
Gross Floor Area (GF): 37,200sqm / 400,420sqft; above ground 22,500sqm / 242,189sqft; below ground 14,700sqm / 158,230sqft

- 155-290 workstations Clinical (office)
- 195 workstations Research (laboratory)
- Conference Room
- Meeting Rooms
- Pharma Lounge
- 140 Parking spaces