Text description provided by the architects. The University of Basel's Biozentrum is one of the world's leading institutes for basic molecular and biomedical research and teaching. Located near the Rhine River, the Biozentrum's 72- meter-high tower comprises 19 floors - 16 above ground and 3 below. A floor area of 23,440 square meters houses research facilities, lecture halls, seminar rooms, and scientific equipment for 400 researchers and 900 students. The Biozentrum building by Ilg Santer Architects, Zurich, is the first part of the new campus site where all faculties will be concentrated in one place.
The chrome and glass facade refers to the technology inside the building. In the structural design, only the facade columns, the building services and the four cores in the tower are load-bearing. The horizontal forces are transferred via frames in the form of Vierendeel trusses. By combining the façade columns with the four cores, the building abandons the conventional solution for high-rise buildings in favor of a floor plan that is as open as possible in the center, allowing great freedom in the division of the various floor levels.
The top ten floors are dedicated to scientific research. Each floor can accommodate four research departments connected by a common meeting room. Adjacent floors are connected by an open stairwell and meeting zone that serve scientific exchange, interdisciplinary research, and innovative ideas that arise from chance discussions.
Below the research floors, the university's computer center, IT services, and central services such as workshops, laboratory equipment, and media preparation fit seamlessly into the tower's basic structure. Everything that does not fit into the floor structure, such as the large lecture halls or special laboratories, finds space in the spacious basement levels with numerous ancillary rooms, delivery, and underground parking.
The white-plastered, three-story entrance hall - 44 x 35 meters long and 13 meters high - offers added spatial value. Here, the architects have combined the circulation areas for lecture halls, refectory, and library in one space. In this hall, the massive supporting structure in its inversion becomes a powerful and versatile interior space. Ilg Santer Architects see the hall as a publicly accessible urban forum for the entire campus. Therefore, they have attached all public functions such as cafeteria, reception, lecture halls, library, and store to it. The airy forum invites students to use it as a learning landscape as well.