Novartis Pavilion's Floating Roof

Novartis Pavilion’s Floating Roof

The reception building for the Novartis Campus in Basel is a load-bearing construction consisting completely of glass. It has a wing-shaped roof made from glass fiber reinforced plastic.

The building rests on an underground parking garage in the middle of an artificially created park. The design of the architect, Marco Serra, called for a high degree of transparency and what appears to be a floating roof.

The load-bearing façade, which consists solely of glass elements, makes it possible to do without any additional supporting structures between the floor and the roof. The roof is a 400 m², wing-like shape made from glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP). The supporting function, thermal insulation and waterproofing, are present in this single, seamless element.

The static and constructive form of the roof and façade takes into account the manufacturing sequences, complex geometry and different behaviour of the materials used. The large, self-propelled swing doors fulfil numerous requirements for operation, safety, security and structural physics.

Above text via Ernst Basler + Partnerwho was the general planner. This also included the structural engineering and façade design.


More data on the FRP roof:

-400 square meters.

-tapers from 62 cm in the center to 7 cm at the edges.

– 90×90 cm blocks of PUR foam are the base material, each block is wrapped in layers of fiberglass reinforced plastic.

-blocks were joined on site using a glue, before additional FRP lamination to concealed the joints was applied.

– the total weight of the roof is 28 tons, all of which is supported by the glass and steel facade.

For even more info on the construction of this, check out Detail magazine, 2008, #5, or buy the book on the building here.