The Roche Tower on the banks of the Rhine is the new architectural landmark of the city of Basel. At 178 metres, it towers above the Messeturm – and has also replaced the Prime Tower in Zurich as the tallest building in Switzerland. After three-and-a-half years’ construction time, the Building 1 office high-rise designed by Herzog & de Meuron Architects was opened in September 2015, with occupancy of the first of the 41 floors beginning over the past few days. The new headquarters of the pharmaceutical company will one day house around 2000 employees.
50 employees – 5 trades: a large-scale multitec project
Exceptional buildings demand ingenious building technology, which is why Roche entrusted Alpiq InTec with several aspects of the construction project. The experts from Alpiq InTec West AG were either fully responsible for or in charge of the integration of the ventilation and air-conditioning technology as well as of the heating and refrigeration systems. In addition, Alpiq InTec was also a member of a collaborative group charged with the installation of the sanitation systems.
As Alpiq InTec is better placed than any other company in Switzerland to act as a multitec partner and provide multiple building technology services from a single source, orders were processed in a coordinated and efficient manner and according to plan. Easier said than done: at peak times, 50 employees from Alpiq InTec alone were active on the main building site, and the order volume amounted to around 40 million Swiss francs.
Ongoing building upstairs; downstairs already approved
In addition to the size and complexity of the project, logistics also posed a challenge during construction of the Roche Tower, particularly as a result of the restricted space available. Space for interim storage on the construction site was limited, and all pre-assembled material had to be installed within days of delivery.
Transporting materials with construction site elevators and jump lifts was also a challenge: while the installation of the building technology on the upper floors was still very much under way, the floors below had already to be put into operation. Thanks to meticulous planning by the construction management team and all involved, the complex tour de force was accomplished.
Minergie standards exceeded – thanks to focus on energy efficiency
While constructing Building 1, Roche attached great importance to both sustainability and energy efficiency. The high-rise corresponds to the Minergie® standard, while all the equipment installed is state of the art in terms of energy efficiency.
For example, the heating uses only waste heat from the company’s own site, and the ventilation systems benefit from highly efficient heat recovery with a two-level heat exchanger. Heat pumps are used for localised hot water supply, and the rooms are cooled with groundwater. To keep the loss of pressure low and thus keep energy efficiency high, all devices, pipes and ducts in the ventilation system have generous dimensions and are designed for low speeds.
Not least thanks to these – and many other – measures, the Roche Tower significantly exceeds the Minergie® standards: a great success.
A landmark construction – for Roche and Alpiq InTec
The office high-rise offers the Roche workforce an attractive working environment and a sustainable infrastructure of the highest quality. However, the tower is not only a landmark achievement for Roche, but also for Alpiq InTec.
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