Physic Garden at Novartis, Basel
This Physic Garden is based on the monastery garden where, in ancient times, monks developed their knowledge about the pharmaceutical properties in plants, a knowledge that provided the foundation for today´s research efforts. These were often hidden places, laboratories in the outdoors, secluded from public life, containing secrets of utmost importance.
The garden is semi-enclosed, and the visitor enters through a zig-zag movement between backdrops of tall hedges.
The slightly sunken basin adds to the preciousness of the plants, and placed inside the frame of a low granite wall, these fragile specimens become untouchable. They are viewed from slightly above. Bridges of light construction, without railings, span the sunken bed, permitting the daring visitor a closer examination of the plants, each of which is labeled with an engraved bronze plaque mounted at the edge of the bed.
Along the sides of the sunken bed are four “log racks”, reminiscent of a library. The types of wood selected represent tree species from which substances have been extracted and used in ethnopharmacology. All in all, 70 plant species are on display in the Physic Garden.
by Thorbjörn Andersson and Sweco Architects