Roche Building 2
Roche Basel Site, Basel, Switzerland
Project 2015-2022

Site development

F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG and Herzog & de Meuron first began working together in the 1990s. Since then, over the past three decades, an entire series of buildings has emerged, most recently Building 1, an office building rising to a height of 178m. It was the tallest in Switzerland upon its completion. The investments Roche has been making clearly demonstrate the firm‘s commitment to its headquarters in the city of Basel. Building 2, even taller than Building 1 at a height of 205 m, is a logical consequence of this commitment with its concentration of workplaces in the Wettstein neighborhood. The development plan devised by Herzog & de Meuron in 2014 provides the urban guidelines for the project and also underlies the development of the northern sector of the site. The zoning plan was approved in 2016, paving the way for Building 2 and the research and development center, pRED.


The current location of production and research at the Rheinknie, the bend in the Rhine, dates back to Swiss architect Otto Rudolf Salvisberg’s masterplan of the 1930s. He designed the checkerboard structure in which the footprint of Building 2 is embedded. The original buildings established an architectural idiom with which Roche still strongly identifies today. The two new towers can be read as a contemporary extension of this architecture which originated in the principles of classical modernism.


Highrise typology

The design of Building 2 relates explicitly to Building 1; the two form an ensemble in the center of the site. The second tower is governed by the same volumetric concept: the building tapers to a point through regular setbacks on the north side; the three remaining sides are straight and vertical. The southern façade frames the street of Grenzacherstrasse, in combination with the equally straight and vertical northern façade of Building 1.



Building 2 has office space for 3100 employees with exceptional spatial properties for a high-rise. The office floors are divided into clusters of three, each with connecting spiral staircases, fostering communication among employees from different departments. In addition, thanks to the geometry of the building, an outside space in the form of a terrace or loggia is accessible to users of each cluster. The office spaces are supplemented by five floors reserved for special uses. These include meeting and conference rooms on the first and second floors which are easily accessible from outside, a café on the ground floor, a bistro on the 12th floor overlooking the northern sector, and the topfloor cafeteria. Looking out over the top of Building 1, visitors to the cafeteria enjoy a spectacular view of Basel and the surrounding countryside.


Grenzacherstrasse is a public axis that runs through the middle of the site. In the not-too-distant future, when construction on Building 2 and pRED has been completed, the street will become a vibrant public space with pedestrians, bicycles, cars, buses – and a great deal of greenery. It will become a Life Science Boulevard, connecting the northern and southern sectors. The red iron sculpture by Bernard Luginbühl in front of Building 67, the blue wall piece by Rémy Zaugg in Building 95, and the stacked boulders by Fischli/Weiss at the entrance to Building 1 are works of art that deliberately figure as protagonists in this public space.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2018


Herzog & de Meuron Team:
Partners: Jacques Herzog, Pierre de Meuron, Stefan Marbach (Partner in Charge until 2016), Michael Fischer (Partner in Charge from 2016)

Project Team: Martin Krapp (Associate, Project Director 2015-2017), Andrea Rüegsegger (Associate, Project Manager), Beatus Kopp, Boris Rieger, Fen Xiao, Inga Federe, Jan Per Grosch, Martin Knüsel (Associate), Silja Ebert (Associate), Tobias Eglauer

Rebecca Andersen, Héctor Arderius, Michal Baurycza (Visualisations), Mikolaj Bazaczek (Visualisations), Frédéric Beaupère (Design Technologies), Viktoria Bruhs, Lea Calabrese, Guanlan Cao, Beining Chen, Morgane Copp, Johan Dahlberg, Seraina De Martin, Michael Drobnik (Design Technologies), Carla Ferrando, Diogo Figueiredo, Miriam Fitz (Visualisations), Jasmina Girod, Shusuke Inoue, Soran Jester, Vasileios Kalisperakis (Visualisations), Konstantinos Katsas, Stasia Kremer, Camille Lanier, Larraitz Larumbe, Sahng O Lee (Design Technologies), Sven Löfvenberg, Isabelle Maassen, Ludwig Müller, Benjamin Muller (Design Technologies), Raneen Nosh, Argel Padilla Figueroa, Martina Palocci, Lukas Pauer, Mickael Pelloquin, Pedro Peña Jurado, Karin Pfeifer, Karolina Pikus, Marta Ribeiro Moreira, Steffen Riegas (Design Technologies), Jessica Roder, Vera Schmidt, Robert Schrammen, Marie Stargala, Lucas Steger, Diana-Ionela Toader, Samantha Vasseur, Yohanna Vogt, Frederike Werner, Jean-Paul Willemse, Sjoerd Zonderland



F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG



General Planning: Drees & Sommer Schweiz AG, Basel, Switzerland

Construction Management: omniCon Gesellschaft für innovatives Bauen mbH, Basel, Switzerland

Structural Engineer: wh-p Ingenieure AG, Basel, Switzerland

Façade: Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Technologies GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany

Fire Protection: hhpberlin - Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany

EMSR: Amstein + Walthert Basel AG, Basel, Switzerland

Gastronomy: Klaus Architekten Innenarchitekten AG, Mettmenstetten, Switzerland

HVAC Planning: Drees & Sommer Advanced Building Technologies GmbH, Stuttgart, Germany

Modular Planning: digitales bauen GmbH, Karlsruhe, Germany

RDA (Smoke Control): I.F.I. Institut für Industrieaerodynamik GmbH, Aachen, Germany

Tendering: PBK AG, Zurich, Switzerland

Wind and Aerodynamics: Wacker Ingenieure, Birgenfeld, Germany


Building Data:

Gross Floor Area (GFA): 861'113 sqft / 80'000 sqm

Number of Levels: 50 aboveground, 4 underground

Footprint: 20'451 sqft / 1'900 sqm

Length: 144 ft / 59 m

Width: 105 ft / 32 m

Height: 672 ft / 205 m

Gross Volume: 10'545'577 cbft / 298'617 cbm

Façade Surface: 349'781 sqft / 32'496 sqm


Use / Function:

Office: 41 office levels

Special Uses: entrance hall, lobby, logistics, meeting room area, gastronomy



Katharina Marchal: Raum für Innovation. Bauten für Actelion, Novartis und Roche, Basel.
In: Marko Sauer (Ed.). Modulor. Hülle und Prozess. Urdorf, Boll AG, 02.2019. pp. 44-55.

Herzog & de Meuron.
In: Luis Fernández-Galiano (Ed.). Arquitectura Viva Proyectos. Vol. No. 89, Madrid, Arquitectura Viva SL, 2018. pp. 16-19.

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