AMDL CIRCLE - Novartis Pavillon, the potential of architecture to communicate the values of science
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Novartis Pavillon, the potential of architecture to communicate the values of science


Culture  /  Completed

The Novartis Pavillon in Basel explores the potential of architecture to communicate the values of science. Following an international competition by Novartis, AMDL CIRCLE was chosen to design a building to convey the company's values: creativity, collaboration and openness to the public.

The exhibition, meeting and event centre is the first publicly accessible building on the Novartis Campus and it is intended to be a place of learning, knowledge and exchange for the general public.

The ring-shaped building features a distinctive, zero-energy media façade, that covers its entire external surface and uses a new generation of organic photovoltaic and a grid of LED lights to screen dynamic artistic interpretations of Novartis’s medical research and attention to environmental concerns.

The Novartis Pavillon, which sits in a natural park overlooking the Rhine, is focussed on the transformation of the campus and the need for the company to better engage with the city its citizens and visitors on the importance of medicine, its past and its future. It is the first publicly accessible building on the Novartis Campus. Locating the building in a public park, just outside the perimeter of the Campus dedicated to biomedical research is a key feature of the project. It is about creating an interface with clients and visitors that is both open and transparent. AMDL CIRCLE designed a round building with a central court that sits over one of the organic paths that cross the naturally planted landscape.

The external façade plays a symbolic role in this architecture. A multimedia membrane covering the upper part of the Pavillon is technologically equipped to communicate company's values. AMDL CIRCLE carried out a series of parametric design studies to define the geometry and graphic design of the facade, which was later engineered by iart. A sustainable energy system was created, using organic photovoltaic technology: a spatial structure formed of a diagonal mesh positioned 50 cm above the metal roof, which integrates a new generation of double-sided photovoltaic panels and a grid of LED lights. The system is self-powered and provides a huge, continuous and dynamic screen visible from every direction.

Designed to reinforce the promotion of connectivity for visitors and staff alike, the building’s circular plan is structured across two levels, a ground floor and mezzanine, that will cater to different functions. At ground floor, 360 glazing allows natural light to enter the space in perfect continuity with the outside. On the mezzanine, a multimedia theatre with stair seating acts as a link between the ground floor and the upper floor, leading visitors to the subjects of the "Wonders of Medicine" exhibition.The space is designed as a fluid gallery, with no walls or dividing elements creating a stage for the exhibition.

This innovative and welcoming architecture is open to the public and emerges as a gathering hub where different disciplines and sectors meet, encouraging the coming together of people: while creating a place where the city connects to the pharmaceutical company - inside a ring-like configurable plan - the architects introduced flexible spaces for discussion and soaring high volumes for interactive exhibitions.

The building, its timber structure, its interiors and climatic systems are routed in environmentally sustainable construction.

The Novartis Pavillon doubles as a self-powered artistic installation among the verdant park just a few steps away from the Novartis Campus with its distinctive, zero-energy media façade that covers its entire external surface.

The Novartis Pavillon is a social experiment. But it is a worthwhile venture. Because mutual understanding and trust can only be achieved through dialogue. And that is what the pavilion stands for.


 Novartis Pharma AG
 Cultural and scientific
 2934 mq
 AMDL CIRCLE e Michele De Lucchi, Nicholas Bewick (Poject architect)
 Anna Schiaretti, Guido Tarantola, Greta Rosset, Francesco Garofoli, Elena Naldi
 Executive architect and construction supervision: Blaser Architekten AG Structural Engineering: Schnetzer Puskas Ingenieure AG Electrical: Edeco AG, Facade: Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG, Sanitary: Locher Sanitärplanung AG, Building physics: Ehrsam Beurret Partner AG, Fire Safety: Gruner AG Landscape design – Vogt Landschaftsarchitekt, Zurich Media façade & exhibition technical development–iart, Basel Media façade curation – Sabine Himmelsbach, HEK (House of Electronic Arts), Wonders of Medicine exhibition design - Atelier Brückner, Stuttgart
 General Contractor and Prefabricated timber structure - ERNE AG Lighting - Zumtobel, IGuzzini, Produzione Privata Furniture and Textiles - Produzione Privata, De Castelli, Cassina, Very Wood, Kvadrat
 Rasmus Hjortshøj


AMDL CIRCLE is a multifaceted studio that was founded by Michele De Lucchi. Internationally renowned for its humanistic approach, it works across many sectors providing its clients with expressive and strategic projects that embrace architecture, interiors, products and communication.
AMDL CIRCLE’s team of architects, designers and craftspeople have worked on projects for public and private organisations, collaborating with large corporations such as Intesa Sanpaolo, Deutsche Bank and UniCredit, and designing buildings and exhibition systems for Neues Museum in Berlin and the Gallerie d’Italia in Milan, Turin and Naples. The Milan based studio has also designed spaces, products and furniture for Alessi, Artemide, Cassina, Hermès, Poltrona Frau and UniFor.

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