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Architecture Lab | Francis Cauffman Reinvents the Typical Suburban Campus

Francis Cauffman Reinvents the Typical Suburban Campus

July 2011 Download PDF

It’s not a typical office park: it’s an open and transparent headquarters in a suburban setting that consolidates the Almac Group’s North American businesses in one location. the completion of the first phase of the Almac Group’s new North American headquarters. Inspired by the company’s Irish roots, the design team has taken elements from North American and European office cultures and combined them into one building.

The first of several phases provides 240,000 square feet of space in two buildings: a 165,000-square-foot clinical packaging and production facility and warehouse and a 75,000-square-foot corporate office building. These facilities house two of Almac’s five divisions: the Clinical Technologies and Clinical Services divisions, which will share corporate resources.

Unlike a typical suburban headquarters, the design team created a very open building that lets in natural light and provides large expansive views to all employees. “We wanted the building to resemble Almac’s properties in Ireland where its global headquarters are based. It was also important to give employees a strong visual connection and continuous access to the outdoors,” said Richard Beck, Design Principal at Francis Cauffman.

The interior workplaces are designed to support the company’s dual cultures. European offices are usually more open and promote corporate equality while American offices tend to be more private. Workstations are also closer together, a European feature; U.S. companies generally range from 200-250 square footage per person and the Almac office is about 165 square foot per person. “We took aspects of the European work environment and incorporated them with American corporate culture. We worked closely with Almac to find a happy medium where both environments are reflected,” said John Campbell, Principal at Francis Cauffman and Director of Workplace Strategies.

Notable design elements are:

  • A glass curtain wall that envelops the buildings and lets natural light deep into the interior.
  • Large expanses of fritted undulating glass that provides privacy and sun control.
  • Low partitions between desks that create openness throughout the floor.
  • Workstations placed around the perimeter of the building, which gives outdoor views to 95% of employees.
  • Private offices and meeting rooms that have glass fronts and let in natural light.
  • A glass-enclosed staircase that extends the height of the building; communication and exchanges take place along this focal point.
  • A large open canteen, used for breaks and informal meetings, and give expansive views of the surroundings.
  • Materials that resemble Almac’s European properties, such as brick, zinc panels, and light gray mullions.
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