pre-commissioning it before bringing it to the site for installation
provides cost and scheduling efficiencies. It allows builders to adhere
to timelines, and bring in painters and floor installers as modular
rooms arrive. Studies by Research and Markets project that modular
construction for pharmaceutical and biotechnology facilities will
grow by an annualized rate of about 9 percent between now and
2030—doubling every eight years on average. More than 80 percent
of this modular construction will go to serve biologics manufacturing, 5 percent for other manufacturing, and 12 percent for research
and development spaces. R&M predicts that 65 percent of modular/
prefabricated construction for biotech/pharma will be to create new
facilities, the other 35 percent expansions of existing sites.
In addition to modular construction, real estate spends are being
maximized by designs that incorporate adaptable and multi-use
spaces. Instead of creating rooms and areas that are dedicated to a
sole function, many companies are opting for spaces that can serve
Multiple spaces for multiple personalities
When it comes to office space, it’s no secret that there’s an ongoing debate about open floor plans versus traditional office layouts.
However, it’s important that amidst the trend to attract millennial
talent with open floor plans and foosball, architects do not lose
sight of the unique culture of each biotech company they design for.
Design needs to account for the many types of personalities in an
organization. Some executives and scientists perform better in quiet
space with doors that can close. Others prefer flexible spaces for
spontaneous collaboration, and still others want to gather in a “
corporate living room” to have an informal conversation. Ultimately,
architects should look to the company founders for inspiration and
to ensure the culture they created and seek is captured in any new
design. A workspace that caters to many different personality types
will help invigorate and retain talent.
What I’ve learned as an architect is: one size does not fit all. It’s
critically important before we even begin to draw schematics that
we do the work to understand the culture of the companies and
organizations we are building for. The workplace has to work for all
workers, in all generations, and for both extroverts and introverts.
An obsessive insistence on an open workplace makes no more sense
than does an obsessive insistence on making sure every employee
has an office with a door that closes. The reality is, we need a mix of
both, and almost all people working in a biotech environment will
want and need both public and private spaces at different times in
their work week.
The pace and promise of innovation in biotechnology have never
been as exciting and challenging as they are now. For architects and
designers, it’s a great time to work with biotech laboratories and
researchers as they move toward the next generation of research.
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