Zenyaku Kogyo R&D Center ("a lab connecting the city, the environment & people”)
This project was for the relocation and construction of a new research & development center for Japanese pharmaceutical company Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd., which celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2020.
In recent years, the research environment has become an increasingly diverse landscape, showing growth in collaborations with outside companies such as open labs, cooperative efforts with venture companies, and the outsourcing of research work. More than ever, higher performance and quality environments are required of labs, making it extremely important for research institutes to make connections beyond previous boundaries and with other researchers.
Mindful of this, an attempt here was made to convert the existing "closed/isolated" building type to a "closed lab/open institute" type of structure. Although the term "open" is used rather loosely in the architecture industry, the conception held that it would carry great meaning pertinent to the building type of a laboratory.
The office and laboratory functions, which had been divided according to field of study, are now shared, resulting in a creative environment that transcends respective boundaries. The approach side of the site is set up as an open space with lush greenery, with the landscape’s ceiling reflection serving as an interface between the architecture and the city. The aim was to create a facility that “coexists” with the local community.
Creating a comfortable workplace through “linear zoning”
Zones for offices, the laboratory and the equipment shafts are clearly delineated in the long, narrow building. This has resulted in a relatively “shallow” office zone area near in proximity to the external environment, and a lab zone close to equipment shafts that offers a high degree of flexibility.
The building span of 6.4m at the laboratory zone is determined by the dimensions of the lab benches, and in consideration of future flexibility for maintenance and upgrading. Given that individual fields require varying levels of airtightness, sound insulation, cleanliness and temperature stability, labs have then been “stacked” across multiple levels by research field.
The office zone, on the other hand, was designed to be a single, shared space that facilitates communication between researchers. By locating the office zone on the north side of the Keio Line, a view of the city featuring the rich landscape along the railway, as well as stable north side illumination, was ensured.
Instead of planting indoor trees to combat insects, balconies and terraces around the periphery of the office zone were utilized for such vegetation, improving the interior landscape. The arrangement also creates an exterior image highly compatible with the surrounding urban landscape.
Glare-free mirrored aluminum louver ceiling creates interior-exterior continuity
In keeping with the theme of "openness," an aluminum louvered ceiling with a mirrored underside motif was designed to create a sense of continuity between interior and exterior spaces. The black top and sides and electropolished underside create a surface that reflects the environment. Depending on the observer’s position and orientation, the exterior planted greenery, the interior space and the images of the bustling city seem to shift. In order to create a thoroughly mirrored surface, all obstructions were removed. The height of the equipment installed between the louvers was raised as high as possible above the underside, with downlights used to avoid scalloping and glare. The louvers were designed with a mountain-like 0.8mm shape so that downlight illumination would not be reflected on the sides of the louvers.
Facility name: Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd. R&D Center
Location: Hachioji City, Tokyo
Main use: Laboratory
Client: Zenyaku Kogyo Co., Ltd.
Concept design, schematic design, design development, construction supervision: Nikken Sekkei Ltd
Site area: 16,733.31m2
Total floor area: 13,895.02m2
Number of floors: four above ground, one basement floor
Maximum height：26.060 m
Main structure: Steel-framed, part steel-framed reinforced concrete
Construction period: July 2019 - February 2021
Construction: OBAYASHI CORPORATION
Photo Credit 1: Harunori Noda [Gankohsha］
Photo Credit 2: ©yukikazu ito.