Before the advent of modern scientific methods in chemistry and pharmacology, it was the alchemists who endeavoured to discover remedies for human ailments. The office building Peter Märkli architekten designed for pharmaceutical giant Novartis Pharma recalls alchemy's other enterprise, its attempts to turn base metals into gold: or rather, Märkli has succeeded in maintaining that illusion. The anodised aluminium of the loadbearing façades has been coated with a champagne-coloured paint and the air ducts that run across the roof are encased in gold-coloured aluminium sandwich board. While such non-designed service elements are often an eyesore, here they look like costly treasures.
The campus and offices of Novartis are not open to the public, its like a forbidden city for architecture lovers. Maybe you could get in with a tour from the Basel Architecture Museum... but don't count on it.
How to get there?
The campus is situated next to the river, just before (or after) the Dreirosenbrucke. Coming from France: Motorway A35/E60 direction Basel, after customs enter left into the tunnel and follow the signs to Basel St. Johann. From EuroAirport Basel take Airport Express Bus PTT 50 to Kannenfeldplatz. Change to Tram 1 (direction Dreirosenbrücke) stop Novartis Campus. Across the street you find the main entrance to the Novartis Campus. From Bahnhof Basel, also take tram 1, same way.