In pharmaceutical manufacturing facility design constraints often exists between the limitations inherent in site constraints – the building “envelope”- and the pressure of intent to ‘open’ that envelope to maximise the floor area, in turn maximising ROI. One is never considered in isolation from the other, and the ideal solution is one that considers both (among all of the other design variables) that best co-exist to articulate space.
For example, the conceptual brief for this previous project (below) was one of maximising the area of the existing building within a limited available area on the site. We proposed a total of 3-floor levels of around 1700sqm, but within a limiting prevailing height in its immediate context of only 2 levels. So by imagining the form as something more ‘sculptural’, here we ‘split’ the building form into three ‘plates’ – to articulate the mass and seek to break down the “visual bulk”.
While a concept only, the building ‘twists’ from a rotational point anchored around the existing building, literally ‘seating’ the new building in its new context. This point is internalised to the site, such that the twist of the successive levels enables the building to recede away from the boundary – and in doing so significantly reduce its visual bulk. The angle of rotation actually ‘turns’ the building so that the lower level is parallel to the south boundary, with the uppermost level parallel to the east boundary, in creating a tangible dialogue with the existing conditions of the site.
This ‘rule’ creates a sculptural form that creates an interplay of horizontal forms, with the large overhangs framing a shelter as parking and entry to the building and offering a means of passive design in shading the windows – the configuration of those windows opens the building up to the views beyond, adding value to the built form. In turn, the antithesis of those forms creates a series of roof (rain) gardens used to significantly increase the capacity of the roofing for stormwater collection, without increasing the actual footprint of the built form.
The ‘competition’ of variables in design and engineering, the very play of which should be a measure of “Architecture”, delivers a net effect that’s visually appealing. In delivering an iconic presence for the client and in seeking to merge architecture both with corporate identity and place, the solution simultaneously creates practical spaces that directly and unashamedly serve the client brief.