Novartis Visitor Reception East Hanover, New Jersey, USA | 2015
Architects: WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
Master Planner: Vittorio Magnago Lampugnani
Landscape Architects: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Client: Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
The Visitor Reception for Novartis’ North American headquarters campus presents a dynamic new gateway to the campus. Slipping laterally into the campus’ perimeter fence, the pavilion provides a legible point of arrival and creates an interface between public and private, open and secure, and landscape and architecture.
The design of the building is shaped by a series of formal movements that emerge from, are suspended above, and activate the surrounding campus landscape. It includes a sequence of reception, orientation, and gathering spaces within the public gateway, while administrative spaces dedicated to providing security for the campus are contained within landscaped retaining walls. The campus’ perimeter fence extends above these walls and transforms into a central row of columns in the pavilion, acting as the threshold between the public (open) and private (secure) realms.
The LEED Gold-certified Visitor Reception is a model of exemplary environmental performance. In the parking area, a photovoltaic array canopy generates enough energy for the building to meet its “electrical energy neutral” production goal. An illuminated, pleated, split-wing roof canopy provides controlled natural daylight for interior conditions and provides a strong architectural presence from the main road for the surrounding community. Its light-colored finish reflects heat and sunlight back into the atmosphere, reducing the heat island effect. Two-side supported, thermally broken curtain walls with low-E coated insulated glazing units and extended roof overhangs minimize heat gain while maximizing views and natural illumination to reduce the building’s energy load. Portions of the building’s east and west facades are embedded into the earth, taking advantage of the landscape’s natural insulating properties to reduce energy consumption. LED and CFL light fixtures further reduce energy consumption and occupancy sensors throughout the building optimize lighting efficiency. Low-flow automatic faucets and toilets decrease water consumption.
Sustainability also played a key role during the material selection process for the Visitor Reception. The structural steel is comprised of over 90% recycled content. Low-emitting paints and epoxy terrazzo flooring are used as interior finishes, reducing off-gassing of chemicals harmful to occupants. Fly ash and local sand are incorporated in the building’s concrete retaining walls, foundation, and paving—light-colored materials capable of reducing the surrounding heat island effect. Over 20% of the building’s materials are locally sourced within 500 miles of the site.
The Visitor Reception also serves as a gateway to a new public transportation network at Novartis’s North American headquarters campus. This system requires visitors to park their vehicles at the front entrance of the Visitors Reception Building and use a campus-wide shuttle bus system to reach their desired destination, minimizing vehicular traffic on-site. In addition, revitalized pedestrian foot paths encourage walking as a primary means of commute on the campus, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicular traffic. Designated spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles in the visitor parking area encourage ecologically friendly transportation practices. The design of the Visitor Reception embodies a spirit of innovation that complements Novartis’s cutting-edge research.