The Novartis Headquarters have been designed to house the company’s administration needs in Greece. The building covers a total of 5508m² on 4 levels above ground and two basement levels. It includes office areas, a 142-seat auditorium, two seminar halls and a restaurant.
Site restrictions, including an underground water main, played a significant role in the positioning and form of the building, which has been divided into three parts -the central building, the double-curved “neck” and the wing. An extension to the wing was foreseen during the design stage. The building has been set back, as far as feasible, from the Athens–Lamia National Road, in order to create an acoustic buffer zone.
The building is characterised by a curtain wall enhanced by a strong structural grid on the front elevation and by the randomly placed openings on all elevations. Thus, the flexibility of the plan layouts –interchangeable individual offices and open plan areas- is expressed through the elevations as well. At the topmost level, square dome lights bring in natural light to the corners of the corridors “enveloping” the rectangular vertical circulation and ancillary facilities central core of the building.
The auditorium, which looks onto an internal planted court, can be combined with the seminar halls to form a fully equipped conference centre. The auditorium walls are clad with alternating beige-grey marble and tubular wood verticals set in front of a sound absorbing rear surface.
Landscaping was an integral part of the design. Dense planting screens the parking zones from the external access to the building. Close to the main entrance, a mini-piazza, akin to a segment of an open-air theatre, has the potential for staging small-scale events in addition to being a staff relaxation area. This project exemplifies the importance of the role of architects in being responsible for the landscaping of the buildings they design.