Venice Biennale 2012: Vitorio Magnano Lampugnani

© Nico Saieh

The master plan presented by Vittorio Magnano Lampugnani at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition is for a private company, even though it operates at city scale. Designed for the Swiss pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Novartis, it demanded a balanced response to the needs of industry, commerce, and human interaction, as well as the rationalization of a site that had advanced, unplanned, for a century. The plan also required finding a common ground between the approaches of many architecture practices from around the world: individual buildings are to be designed and constructed by architects such as Peter Märkli, Diener & Diener, SANAA, and David Chipperfield. Lampugnani’s vision is represented here in the form of a large-scale model, allowing visitors to appreciate its scale, complexity, and careful poise.

© Nico Saieh

The project began at the end of 2000, when Novartis planned to carry out a fundamental architectural restructuring of its vast site in Basel-St. Johann, between Elsässerstrasse, Voltastrasse, the national border, and the Rhine. The site featured a plain, elegant main administrative building by Eckenstein & Kelterborn of Basel and Brodbeck & Bony of Liestal, which was gradually surrounded over the years by a fairly random accumulation of buildings with varying uses, heights, and signatures.

© Nico Saieh

It was decided that the master plan would focus on communication as its central aspect. The project was developed according to the model of a pre-industrial city – that is, a location adapted entirely to human beings instead of coaches, trams, or cars, and a place where people could enjoy meeting and talking to each other. The resulting project – which will progressively reach completion over the next thirty years – uses established principles for the relationship between architecture and human behavior, reimagining them in modern form, and behind gates: a corporate campus that is city-like, but separate from the urban context around it.

© Nico Saieh
Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Venice Biennale 2012: Vitorio Magnano Lampugnani" 11 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=272443>

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