Bespoke glass, timber and aluminium building for Swiss pharmaceutical HQ

A bespoke building defined by a highly transparent linear rectangular "glass box" contrasted by undulating curved timber and aluminium structures. The facility houses the Swiss pharmaceutical company's head office, providing for approximately 500 employees across six storeys. Novartis has a reputation for reconnaissance architectural designs. The company's main headquarters in Basel, Switzerland features structures by Frank Gehry, FAIA, José Rafael Moneo, Hon. FAIA and Tadao Ando, as well as many others.
The nearby underground train tunnels required careful foundation design. The 6-storey, rear atrium glass wall is supported by a horizontal tensioned table system, a unique method developed by TTW.

The new efficient and innovatively designed Novartis building in Sydney's Macquarie Park, consolidates three separate office locations into one new state-of-the-art facility - creating a more economical footprint, and providing streamlined accommodation for 500 employees.

Completed in just 70 weeks, the six-storey building features a highly transparent linear ‘glass box' that is contrasted with curved timber and aluminium structures. The external glazed wall of the atrium utilised finite element analysis to calculate the required tension in the cables and the deflected shape of the façade under wind conditions. The wall is supported by a horizontal tensioned table system, a unique method developed by TTW. An external staircase hangs from the floor plates without the presence of any vertical columns.

With the Chatswood to Epping underground rail line running under Waterloo Road and parallel to the new structure, specific attention was required to ensure that the tunnels were not overstressed. In addressing this, the ground floor was cantilevered over the railway zone using stiff diaphragm walls in the parking basement.

Sustainability has also been a fundamental part of this project - reducing the company's environmental footprint, maximising natural light and air flow, and meeting 5-star Green Star and NABERS rating requirements.

Client: Novartis / JBA

Architect: HDR Rice Daubney

Value: $45M

Completion: 2015

Sector: Commercial/Industrial

Services: Structural


  • 2016 NSW Architecture Award – Sir Arthur G. Stephenson Award for Commercial Architecture