Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd.
4056 Basel, Switzerland
The new building has replaced an antiquated one on the company’s premises. Basically no questions of city planning were involved – especially since a clear-cut and rigorous building code was defined for the entire complex by the former in-house architect of Roche, Otto Rudolf Salvisberg. Most of the buildings in the complex are, in fact, very similar in architectural design and colouring. The new research headquarters fit into this context, but due to the street-front location of the building and the extreme complexity of its use (library, café, auditorium and laboratory), its inner life is more oriented towards the urban life beyond the Roche premises. The building acts as an interface between the city and the Roche premises, which were originally isolated from city life, somewhat like a monastery. The building thus signals a new beginning and also the new strategy of pharmaceutical companies once again to integrate place of work, place of residence and city life in the post-industrial age.
The nine-storey-high research headquarters adhere to the typical structure of open galleries, used as emergency escape routes and service zones. The façade in back is completely flat, smooth and glazed throughout. Offices and laboratories as well as larger public areas, including a five-storey library, an auditorium and a café are housed behind this façade of structural glazing. The different uses are visible from the outside through differences in depth and lighting, but also through the distinctive nature of the shades. The shades play an important role in the design of the building, lending its otherwise crystalline appearance a softness of contour. Unlike the conventional parallel arrangement, which almost slavishly follows the shape of the façade, the shades follow an irregular outline that reflects the arrangement of the rooms inside. The five-storey library, for instance, is treated as a single whole, which faces the public space of the city, specifically Solitude Park and the Rhine.
Herzog & de Meuron, 2000
The new laboratory building stands like a gate tower before the site of the Roche company and establishes a connection to the park opposite. The boxes for the blinds form a projecting layer the head building.
The closed awnings minimize the differentiation between the floors and emphasize the volume as a whole. Along the edges of the head building the awnings recede to varied extents. The façade has a wave motion.
Rémy Zaugg used mural paintings to emphasize the structural significance of the partition wall between the laboratory building and the head building. The winding staircase that leads to the foyer of the auditorium is an homage from Herzog & de Meuron to the Roche in-house architect, Otto Rudolf Salvisberg.
At night the head building becomes a large street lamp for the public space and is perceived more powerfully thanks to the blue wall.
- In Collaboration With
- Rémy Zaugg, Basel, Switzerland
- F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland
- Prime Consultant: GSG Baucontrol AG, Basel, Switzerland
- Construction Management: Karl Steiner AG, Basel, Switzerland
- Structural Engineering: Walter Mory Meier Bauingenieure AG, Basel, Switzerland
- HVAC Engineering: BKP Bures & Voith Klima Planning, Basel, Switzerland
- Plumbing Engineering: Bogenschütz AG, Basel, Switzerland
- Electrical Engineering: Sytek AG, Binningen, Switzerland
- Specialist / Consulting
- Acoustics Consulting: M. Lienhard, Langenbruck, Switzerland
- Audio-Visual Coordination: Comfa AG, Wädenswil, Switzerland
- Building Physics Consulting: Ramser Bauphysik AG, Wetzikon, Switzerland
- Facade Consulting: Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG, Münchenstein, Switzerland
- Building Data
- Gross floor area (GFA): 250'798 sqft, 23'300 sqm
- Number of levels: 9
- Footprint: 27'555 sqft, 2'560 sqm
- Length: 246 ft, 75 m
- Width: 95 ft, 29 m
- Height: 108 ft, 33 m
- Gross volume (GV): 5'142'950 cbft, 145'632 cbm
Gerhard Mack, Herzog & de Meuron: “Herzog & de Meuron 1992-1996. The Complete Works. Volume 3.” Edited by: Gerhard Mack. Chinese ed. Beijing, China Architecture & Building Press, 2010. Vol. No. 3.
Gerhard Mack: “Rémy Zaugg, a Monograph.” Edited by: Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg. Luxembourg, Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg, 2006.
Gerhard Mack: “Rémy Zaugg, une Monographie.” Edited by: Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg. Luxembourg, Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg, 2006.
Gerhard Mack: “Rémy Zaugg, eine Monographie.” Edited by: Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg. Luxembourg, Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg, 2005.
Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 1981-2000. Between the Face and the Landscape. The Cunning of Cosmetics. Entre el Rostro y el Paisaje. La Astucia de la Cosmética.” 2nd adv. and rev. ed. Vol. No. 60+84, Madrid, El Croquis, 2005.
“Herzog & de Meuron. Natural History.” Edited by: Philip Ursprung. Exh. Cat. “Herzog & de Meuron. Archaeology of the Mind.” Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. 23 October 2002 – 6 April 2003. 2nd ed. Baden, Lars Müller, 2005.
Nobuyuki Yoshida (Ed.): “Architecture and Urbanism. Herzog & de Meuron 1978-2002.” Tokyo, A+U Publishing Co., Ltd., 02.2002.
Fernando Márquez Cecilia, Richard Levene (Eds.): “El Croquis. Herzog & de Meuron 1998-2002. La Naturaleza del Artificio. The Nature of Artifice.” Vol. No. 109/110, Madrid, El Croquis, 2002.
“Architecture by Herzog & de Meuron. Wall painting by Rémy Zaugg. A Work for Roche Basel.” Edited by: Rémy Zaugg. Basel / Bosten / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 2001.
Wilfried Wang: “Herzog & de Meuron.” 3rd adv. and rev. ed. Basel / Boston / Berlin, Birkhäuser, 1998. (= Studiopaperback).