Located in an industrial area, the site is bounded by four major roadways, thus creating a “super-block.” The design concept respects this block, with the various research and development buildings adhering to the edges of the streets to create a “solid” mass that was then “eroded” in the center, as if by water. With the hard rectilinear edges defining the mass, the central, organic form creates a garden, or park, on the interior with the “people” spaces overlooking it. “Science” spaces, including laboratories and other technical spaces, are appropriately housed along the perimeter in linear bars clad in solid materials, while workplace and collaboration areas are located along the interior and clad in glass to provide daylight inside and views into the garden.
Researchers are connected by the light and the garden along the interior, and by strategically located shared destinations on the ground level including gyms, pools, cafes, cafeterias, and conference facilities. With formal and informal meeting areas, as well as circulation paths, along the interior edges, the design naturally draws researchers out of the labs to interact with others from different groups. In the garden, a large auditorium is dug into the ground, to become part of the natural landscape. It is flanked by two sunken courtyards which act as breakout space, and bring light into the below-grade parking structure. With parking located below grade, as well as other “behind the scenes” services and support spaces, the central zone offers a prominent, car-free restorative connection to nature and to people.
A single building breaks the pattern: the headquarters building is located along the eastern edge of the site and its curved form is pulled away from the road. Not only does the form create a graceful entrance, it also articulates the building’s significance.