Pharmaceutical giant Roche inaugurated Switzerland’s tallest building in Basel on Friday. The 178-metre-tall structure, known inauspiciously as Building 1, will house 2,000 workers.
The building, designed by the renowned Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, is 52 metres higher than the Prime Tower in Zurich. Roche plans to construct an even bigger 205-metre research and development centre - Building 2 – next door to its newly opened office block by 2021.
Building 1 has 41 floors and a total floor space of 74,200 metres, It cost CHF550 million ($568 million) to build, with the total bill expected to reach CHF3 billion once the twin tower of the R&D centre is complete.
Amid fears that some Swiss companies may seek to escape high-cost Switzerland and the strong franc, Roche chief executive Severin Schwan said: “We also regard Building 1 as a clear commitment to Switzerland and to Basel.”
Tight planning regulation restrictions in many Swiss urban areas mean that there are few skyscrapers in Switzerland. The 126-metre Prime Tower in Zurich held the record as Switzerland’s tallest building for just under four years.
The world's tallest artificial structure is currently the 828-metre Burj Khalifa in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai.
Of the 100 tallest buildings on the Skyscraper Center database - compiled by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat - the shortest is the 296.7-metre Comcast Center in Philadelphia, United States.