At the northernmost part of the campus, just beyond the French border, lies a large employee parking lot. A railroad track runs along the border between this parking lot and the rest of the campus, blocking pedestrian passage. To solve this problem, Novartis commissioned the design and construction of a pedestrian walkway passing underneath the tracks and an arrival plaza to the south of the underpass. On the new plaza a sculpture by Richard Serra welcomes employees arriving from France. Dirk’s Pod is made of five double steel plates, bent horizontally and vertically. The plaza floor is made of White Mancini granite, laid in an ashlar pattern, perpendicular to the primary axis of the sculpture. Slot drains have been installed wherever the sculpture touches the ground, so that rust from the steel will not stain the granite.
The underpass is made of highly refined, poured concrete, with stainless steel railings and fittings and glass security entry gates, also fitted in stainless. The steps and paving match the stone of the plaza. The train tracks are screened by a poured concrete wall and planted with deciduous Boston ivy. The parking lot has been re-striped and replanted.