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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Genzyme R&D Centre, Beijing

RMJM Hillier to design ‘green’ R&D centre in China
A new research and development centre in China for biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. is to be designed by RMJM Hillier. The firm has been selected as the design architect and laboratory planner for the 200,000 sq ft centre which will cost $90 million.

The centre will be based in Beijing's Zhongguancun Life Science Park, an area dedicated to academic and government research centres as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The new facility will be staffed by 350 employees and used for research and development activities for orphopedics, transplant and immune disease, oncology, endocrinology and cardiovascular disease. Genzyme’s will be the second R&D project by RMJM Hillier in China and their fourth in Asia.

Peter Schubert, AIA, Design Director, commented, “Genzyme is the ideal client – they value good design, workplace collaboration, and care about the environment, and with this project, we’ll also be part of the first wave of environmentally proactive architects working to address some of China’s environmental issues.”

Steve Gifford, Design Studio Director at RMJM Hillier explains how they approached the design: “Our expertise is in delivering complex research environments that are innovative, beautiful and enduring. New forms of architecture are needed to help life sciences clients accelerate the process of discovery, and our designs respond to changing research methodologies that emphasize flexibility, collaboration and sustainability.”

Inspiration for the design came from Genzyme and RMJM Hillier’s mutual commitment to environmental responsibility and collaboration. The research and administrative portions of the building are connected via a sizable light-filled atrium in which a series of horizontal bridges and staircases of varying heights and dimensions promote both a productive and playful movement of people, light and air. The natural and built environments are interwoven through a series of plazas and green spaces that respond to both the interior environment and the exterior landscape.

Innovative green features aim to create a healthy and comfortable workplace for employees, and reduce its environmental impact. They include: a narrow foot print and 4-story atrium to maximize natural ventilation; living roof to reduce pollution caused by storm water runoff; a solar thermal system that will provide a significant portion of the building's hot water and reduce its energy consumption; low-flow fixtures to limit water usage; a high-performance exterior glass system that will provide employees with significant natural light, contributing to a pleasant working environment, and reducing the facility's dependence on electricity; and a sensored motorized blind system to control light and heat gain. RMJM Hillier will be applying for LEED status for this build through the U.S. Green Building Council.

Genzyme is currently awaiting Government approvals but it is hoped the building will be complete and functioning by the end of 2010.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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