Nissen & Wentzlaff Architekten: Balgrist Campus research and development building - best architects 17

Nissen & Wentzlaff Architekten

Balgrist Campus research and development building

best architects 17

commercial/industrial buildings


Zurich / Switzerland



Ruedi Walti


As part of the effort to establish the Balgrist Campus as a leading research facility for musculoskeletal medicine, a new building was planned in direct association with Balgrist University Hospital. Space was to be provided for research groups in the fields of tumours and metastases, muscles, biomechanics and paraplegia as well as clinical orthopaedics. The specifications gave high priority to enabling interdisciplinary cooperation. The first step in the design process was a comprehensive analysis of the requirements of modern research activity. In conventional research institutions, proprietary premises often lead to the hoarding of ideas and expertise. To promote the exchange of knowledge, the different spaces available on the Balgrist Campus are thus deliberately grouped by type of activity: office spaces, wet labs and dry labs each have their own floor. Professors, engineers, doctors and students of various disciplines work table on table in an open-plan office environment and move around the building according to their current activity. To allow the centre of the building to remain free for encounters and interaction, emergency stairs and supply ducts are located on the front sides of each building. Following the natural slope of the land, the different floors are arranged into split levels. The ways these levels flow into each other generate diverse diagonal sight lines throughout the building.