GirlHacker's Random Log

almost daily since 1999

Necco to Novartis


NECCO Water Tower (by Jill Robidoux)

It’s been years since the sweet smell of the NECCO factory wafted across Cambridge, but I still missed that sugary air on my recent trip back. The Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) took over the 1927 factory building after a $120 million transformation completed in 2004. The old candy factory that was sometimes referred to as Willy Wonka’s (I never saw anyone go in or out) now features two pairs of glass elevators like Charlie’s. The inside is completely transformed and the outside has been updated but had to conform to Cambridge’s strict hold over architectural improvements. In 1996, NECCO’s water tower was cleverly painted to resemble a stack of NECCO wafers. Novartis knew the iconic tower had to remain, but with a new identity. They sponsored a competition to solicit ideas from local artists and students. Joseph DePasquale won with a DNA double helix representing the company’s mission. A PowerPoint deck from Sponge Jet chronicles their careful restoration of the rusty tank with consideration for containment of the dust. The redone building may not emit a sweet smell (and considering the research going on inside we probably don’t want it to emit anything), but it retains┬ásome essence of the┬ámagical concoctions that it used to house.

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research