The European City in a Nutshell

architect Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani
project Novartis Pharma office building, Basel, Switzerland
written by Stanislaus von Moos


The adjective that best sums the character of this building is ‘lapidary’. Not only in the literal sense suggested by its unusual Carrara marble cladding. A grid made of pillars and lintels with slim mouldings indicating the storeys, the building seems to represent a blueprint of primal architectonic rules. Its volume is determined by the height and breadth of the front facing Fabrikstrasse as well as by the site’s considerable depth (almost 60 m), and the scale of the two-storey Fabrikstrasse arcade that defines the building’s narrow side.