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  • Mary Lynn Al Haddad and Nancy El Asmar

Innovative Hub for Creative Minds- Basel Science Campus

Authors: Mary Lynn Al Haddad and Nancy El Asmar.

Abstract:

"Basel is a prominent city in the pharmaceutical and biochemistry industries and the 70-year-old Schällemätteli Campus is to be reinvented, as per the request of the University of Basel. This was not only a challenging task because the site, Plot n.4, was considered the heart of the campus accommodating the Chemistry, Physics, and Anatomy Departments, but also because it lies in between the actual campus and the residential district.

Therefore, the main aim was to design innovative laboratories with maximum efficiency, within a complex geometry reflecting the “Reimagined Urban Area” concept of an innovation center, and to restitch the urban fabrics of both the campus and the residential district by designing buildings that serve as a transition between the two scales. Conceived as a two-phase construction process, the architectural ensemble consists of two main buildings, connected underground, which provides two “urban layers”. Both buildings allow for multi-use and interactive spaces, maximizing work performance as well as providing leisure and communication hubs. The building is accessible from every corner, and the porosity and ease of pedestrian accessibility facilitates circulation around the campus, and from one facility to the other.

Just as Plot n.4 is the heart of the Campus, a Forum extending from the second basement up to the roof is the heart of the complex; a contemporary “Lichthof” acting as a communication hub. The Forum substantiates the idea of a clear functional and spatial organization of the building, amidst its complexity. The Forum provides a powerful spatial experience by means of an architectural promenade throughout the building, in order to break the conventional perception of ‘scientific laboratories’ and reveal the “unexpected”."