The entrance to any place, says a lot what that place is and what that place represents. So going by that statement, if I’m to judge the pharmaceutical giant Novartis, by their newly designed Visitor Reception into their North American Head Quarters, I’ll be pretty accurate, in assuming they’re big on innovation and technology. Somehow, I doubt, I’d be wrong.
Designed by NewYork based Architects, Weiss/Manfredi, the new reception is a combination of architecture and Landscape design. The structure appears as a seamless extension of the perimeter fence, almost like it was slit at that point to permit entry, with its cascading butterfly roof, inviting and calming all at the same time, a befitting aesthetic for a pharmaceutical company. The layout of the structure also cascades from reception to orientation and eventually to a gathering space from where the visitor begins there commute into the office complex or campus via company-run shuttles.
The LEED Gold- certified building takes a pavillion style approach with an array of structural steel columns supporting the elegant roof at its lowest points, then giving way to sculptural ribs that define the ceiling. This frame is enclosed by a curtainwall of insulated low-E glass panels for maximum daylighting and views of the surrounding vegetation. Embankments on opposite sides of the building give its seemingly tapering form as it appears to sprout from the ground. Powered by a solar array in the adjacent parking area, the building also achieves its ‘energy neutral’ production goal.
The design creates a very legible, welcoming point for arrival. It gives this feeling of a structure that is open yet, secure, public yet private, subtle and not ‘trying-to-hard’ to impress. An ideal gateway into a world of technological innovation and sustainability.