Building Q Research Building

Completed September 2000
Published 4-30-2001
  • Labs

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, Photographer Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing, Chicago.

  • Atrium

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, Photographer Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing, Chicago.

  • Exterior

    Photo courtesy of Flad & Associates, Photographer Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing, Chicago.

Pharmacia's recently completed Building Q Research Building is the new cornerstone for the eventual large-scale redevelopment of their Skokie, Ill., research campus. Designed to be a world-class facility for chemistry research, the new building's mission is to provide a safe, adaptable, and competitive workplace to expand Pharmacia's ability to support the prospective drug pipeline.

 A primary architectural feature of the 176,000-sf building is the dual atria, which encourages interaction and allows natural light to penetrate throughout the labs and interior areas of the building. Labs surround the atria on both sides, with interior windows achieving the owner's goal of providing daylight to the labs and offices. The main atrium includes public space on each floor with whiteboards, landscaping, and casual tables inviting researchers to rearrange furniture to their liking and plug in their laptops at any time via the available electrical and data outlets.

Break out space is available at one end of the large atrium space and has already served as spur-of-the-moment meeting space for people from around the Pharmacia campus, not just Building Q occupants. The high-tech lecture hall with seating for 80 contains a multi screen rear projection system; remote video conferencing system; data ports at every seat; and television and computer projection systems.

Specially designed acoustical elements help to reduce reverberation in a number of ways. Splayed walls prevent parallel path reflection of sound waves as they hit the wall at difference angles, reducing noise and echoing. Vent-wood grilles cant outward along the side walls, converging towards the front of the hall. The grilles serve to trap and dissipate sound energy through multiple reflections. Acoustical batting behind the wood slats further dampens sound.

Each laboratory neighborhood is demarcated with color. Each neighborhood has its own color scheme, and adjacent neighborhoods use the previous neighborhood's accent color as a coordinating color. The goal of the color scheme and the overall design is to create interior public spaces similar to a park or urban streetscape rather than a laboratory building.

Researcher offices are located adjacent to the lab along the building's perimeter. They are open to the labs or separated by glass walls to permit researchers to monitor lab activity without having to enter the actual lab. The basic lab unit is 28' x 10' with hoods located on the side walls, reducing the staff traffic near the hoods and enhancing safety. Utilities, power access, and data ports are run vertically to keep countertops clear. Each neighborhood is served from two sides by the vertical HVAC supply and exhaust system. Pipes and valves are accessible from the corridors between the neighborhoods.

The 20' floor-to-floor height on the first floor accommodates the chemical science/synthesis lab, which requires tall reactors needing higher ceilings. The NMR laboratory is also on the first floor and currently houses two 750 MHz units but is designed to house a 900 MHz unit. Smaller shared and open access NMR units are located on the second and third floors. The second floor also houses a combination of chemical sciences and biology labs. The third floor is dedicated to discovery chemistry. Radio chemistry, a hydrogenation lab, and the analytical labs are located on the fourth floor.

From the outset, Pharmacia established the goal of Building Q becoming a "green building" and receiving the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Steel beams are made from 100 percent recycled steel, wallboard is made from the processed waste products of power plants, and the carpeting and ceiling tiles contain nearly 80 percent recycled materials. Building Q is 40 percent more efficient than similar lab buildings. The VAV fume hoods with in-hood flow sensors monitor sash position, calculate the open area, and adjust airflow instantly. The controls not only save on operational costs, but also help to maintain the desired pressurization for the labs. A heat recovery system nets an additional six percent savings in energy use. Other energy efficient and "green" features include water conservation and quality methods and recycling and construction waste management.

The $78-million building houses scientists focusing on metabolism, toxicology, medicinal chemistry, and process development. Their collective efforts are aimed at alleviating unmet medical needs in the areas of arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Turner Construction
Schirmer Engineering
Consultant - Code
The Weidt Group
Consultant - Energy Analysis
Consultant - MEP Engineer
Consultant - Structural Engineer
Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin, Inc.
Consultant - Wind Tunnel Testing
Siemens Building Technologies
Supplier - Building Automation Controls
Interface Carpets
Supplier - Carpet
Otis Elevator
Supplier - Elevators
Kewaunee Scientific Corporation
Supplier - Fume Hoods
Trane Company
Supplier - HVAC
Kewaunee Scientific Corporation
Supplier - Laboratory Furniture
Supplier - Workstation Furniture