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Form Follows Pharma


Form Follows Pharma

Designing facilities for the life science industry can be as inspiring as the life-saving research that occurs within them. Architects must balance the many challenges of this ever-evolving industry with the current expectations for modern and future-proof facility design.

Ultimately, facility design must respond to the expectations set forth by our clients. Fortunately, this is an exciting time to be designing for the pharmaceutical industry, where financial goals are responding to the desire for flexible facilities that are sustainable, people-friendly, and considerate of their surrounding communities.

Facility design starts with the process and focuses on creating logical and efficient layouts that optimize equipment arrangements, comply with industry regulations, and can be safely operated by those who occupy them. At the same time, these buildings must accommodate complex mechanical and utility systems, manage the use of hazardous materials, and conform with local building and zoning codes.

With priorities clearly focused on production, I like to say we design from the inside out and then the outside back in. Inspiration can be and should be, drawn from the advanced technologies found within these ground-breaking facilities. Financial drivers don’t often allow for ornamental treatments, so architects must rely on necessary building elements to inform exterior design features. Unique blocking and stacking diagrams are often the result of novel manufacturing techniques, which can inform exterior massing and dictate major design elements. Functional, engineered devices, such as louvers and vents, can be playfully organized to express how the building lives and breathes while surrounded by sustainable cladding systems and energy-efficient fenestration.

Ultimately, these buildings must respond to the vision and expectations set forth by our clients. Future-proof, flexible, and agile facilities have become desirable as the direct result of painful legacy facility renovations. We know product lines will eventually change as new discoveries give way to novel therapies and advanced manufacturing techniques. Owners want facilities that can adapt over time and be modified without affecting ongoing operations. Such adaptive reuse feeds directly into the sustainable initiatives at the forefront of many new projects, fueled by aggressive goals for carbon footprint reduction.

Today, employees have many choices. Our workforce wants to be in modern, safe, and responsible facilities. Companies want to express these attributes with their building façades to attract new employees and help retain existing ones. Attractive and sustainable facilities also draw positive attention from surrounding communities and support “Good Neighbor” policies and public relations.

I am thrilled to design for such a dynamic and ever-changing industry focused on saving lives. I look forward to seeing new breakthroughs and technological advances in the pharmaceutical industry as we strive to innovate and drive design for the future.  

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