Novartis Shanghai Campus

Shanghai, CN

The poetic inspiration for the Novartis Campus lies in the beauty of the rural orchard, beholding a diverse array of colors, varied emotions, seasonality, textures, tastes and smells. The landscape nurtures notions of community, warmth and inventiveness, a union of places and spaces which culminate to a larger spirit and identity that sponsors creativity and pride within Novartis.

Embraced by the Sergison Bates and Diener + Diener Buildings, the Taxodium entrance area serves to welcome visitors and begins the story of Novartis’ optimism, ambition and practicality. The columnar forms of the noble trees interspersed with elongated lighting elements engender a very definitive sense of arrival. Planted as if the seeds were cast by the hand of nature, the arrival experience is reminiscent of a journey through the forest.

The arrival loop is kept functionally simple, maintaining clear vehicular circulation and uncomplicated visitor parking. Taxodium, a drought, flood and typhoon tolerant tree that lives for thousands of years, is representative of Novartis’ durability and future thinking.

Moving forward from the entrance, fastidiously placed flagstones of Blue Diabase direct people to a set of beautiful brass entry gates, spanning over eight meters and these statuesque gates form a gracefully gateway to the gardens beyond. Past the check-in area, the Hammock Grove provides a transitional garden as the antidote to the bustle of Shanghai. Vistas through the sun dappled grove hint to the inspiring architecture and colorful orchard ahead.

The larger Orchard Commons is a place defined by the rural beauty of a fruit orchard and the flexibility of a public commons. Inspired by the concept of life and its many cycles, the native fruit orchard represents conception, growth, change and wisdom. Seasonality of the plantings generates a continual visual and palatable interest as the fruits of the kumquat, tangerine, micro-apple and the Chinese plum trees ripen, perfect to be picked by the passerby. The stimulation of senses is perhaps the greatest muse of them all.

Situated within the fertile landscape of fruit trees and the fragrant sea of sweet osmanthus blossoms are two shade structures. Inspired by the traditional Chinese pavilion these informal spaces create a place for individuals or small groups to experience distinct and personal atmospheres. With rippled roofs of zinc plates the structures allude to the past while looking to the future, shading people from the heat of the sun and providing an oasis of cool. Inside custom designed movable outdoor furniture can be easily grouped together to create an atmosphere of collaboration and interchange.

Outside the microtopography is shaped to both allow flexible gathering for employees and complement the surrounding architecture. Fine-grain networks of interconnected pathways propose the most logical and direct routes between buildings. Paved with gold brick, this ancient material inscribes a passageway through vivid beds of azaleas. Amongst the undulating terrain is rock cluster seating and portable Song dynasty inspired hardwood stools and tables to further encourage inhabitation and interaction. From the private dining rooms of the cantee/multifunction building designed by Kengo Kuma framed views of a scenic garden with an oriental composition of pebbles, rocks and maple trees offer complete visual serenity.

At night, bespoke bollards and elegant lighting candelabras of Accoya, with sinuous Blue Diabase pedestals, Olivio luminaries and a custom designed transition element bathe the gardens and seating areas in warm light. Inviting people to linger around the granite tables or rest on the stone benches as they gaze at the soft haze of lush foliage. The gardens offer a place to wait for an appointment as a visitor, to interact with others contemplate on work and research or a chance to take a seat, take a breath and reflect on the day. The Novartis Campus is a landscape where architecture, the human spirit and the essence of nature harmoniously coalesce, in a productive and progressive environment.


China Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research Co., Ltd. (CNIBR)


Architectural Design & Research Institute of Tongji University (Group) Co., Ltd., Ager Group