Excellent Design Creates Better Performance

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Switzerland Business Center by Architects Herzog & de Meuron

In Allschwil/Basel a new Business Center has opened for Actelion. The Business Center, together with a second research and development building, were designed by Herzog & de Meuron and will form an extension for 380 employees. While the Business Center opened December 10 2010, the R&D building will be ready in 2011.

Quoting from the press release:
Dr. Jean-Paul Clozel, Chief Executive Officer of Actelion said: "After a three-year construction phase, we are delighted to be able to hand over the building to our employees. The architecture stands for innovation, openness and communication and thus symbolizes core values of our company." Jean-Paul Clozel added that "The new Business Center offers our employees an innovative, inspiring work environment."

Particularly interesting is the individual articulation of the floor plans accentuated by cantilevering horizontal elements. Piled slabs and floors of different sizes, where Each floor is cut open from what might have been a regular office building. Although chaotic in appearance, the slabs meet at four different crossing points per floor organized around static demands and programming. The superimposition of the elements in those crossing points, the floorslab doubles as ceiling of the next floor and thus occasionally blurs the legibility.
The load-bearing structure of steel frames in k-,x, or I-shapes is hidden behind the fa├žade but still faintly visible. The largely carbon neutral building utilizes a concept of a green roof, designed by the artist Tita Giese.

Although different in concept, the basic premise of stacking and piling seems to be a reoccurring theme with H&deM recently, where this building clearly has a relative in the not far away VitraHaus. Both buildings are published in the current El Croquis 152/153 on H&deM.

Actelion Ltd is a biopharmaceutical company in Allschwil near Basel in Switzerland. Founded in 1997 it focuses on research of Endothels (what separates vascular wall from blood stream) with about 2400 employees worldwide, from which 1000 work in Allschwil.

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