Shifting demographics, education and lifestyle trends are driving dramatic changes in workplace design. When it comes to the pharma industry, a growing number of companies are designing workplaces driven by the idea that today's innovation ecosystem stretches beyond the physical confines of the laboratory, to encompass the people and places central to that research.
Designing a flexible, inspiring workplace to foster collaboration, enhancing common spaces that promote social interaction and improve wellbeing, while focusing on sustainability were the three key drivers behind Italian pharma group Chiesi Farmaceutici’s new headquarters.
Strategically located besides the company’s research centre in Parma to form a Campus, the smart, net zero new headquarters brings together Chiesi staff from multiple sites into a single new working environment, creating a space for connectivity and collaboration and acting as a catalyst for the company’s future strategic growth.
With approximately 16,500m² of gross floor space, the building includes collaboration and community spaces including an auditorium, a bar and a restaurant with 250 seats, lounge areas as well offices for the company’s executive team.
Chiesi appointed Arup to provide Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) services including architecture and sustainability consultancy and statutory roles, supporting the project from inception to delivery.
Net zero carbon Building
People-focused design: the collaborative workplace
Arup was asked to develop a new concept to support Chiesi’s ambition to design a people-first workplace, creating a campus centred on health, wellbeing and comfort. Chiesi staff were actively involved throughout the design process.
Space has been organised to provide the right balance between collaborative and intense-focus working styles within the open-plan office environment, with generous common areas promoting social interaction within the Chiesi community.
The building’s calm architectural composition offers subtle variations within a modular system; while light, warm, natural finishes help create a feeling of comfort and serenity. Structures have been carefully designed with large regular clear spans providing comfortable open office space, pushed to more dramatic effects in the central full-height atrium and cantilevering block over the main entrance.
Combining our design expertise and project management skills, Arup has brought to life Chiesi’s new headquarters, creating a net zero ecosystem with quality workspaces and common areas to help the company unlock collaboration and foster a sense of community ” Luca Stabile Italy Building Practice Leader
Total Design: integrating all the design disciplines
Other guiding principles for the design and construction reflect Chiesi’s focuson innovation and sustainability. Adopting a holistic ‘Total Design’ approach, more than twelve disciplines were involved in the process, including the production of a Living Workplace report with our Foresight, Research & Innovation team. Arup’s Project and Construction Management team provided cost and time management to help Chiesi identify the best strategy, manage risks and improve performance; while bringing together the different disciplines and contractors, and integrating the value of local knowledge and craftmanship.
Our people are the real soul of this project: our new headquarters are an innovation-friendly environment, a place where our people can generate and discuss the ideas that will drive our future growth ” Alessandro Chiesi Chief Commercial Officer, Gruppo Chiesi
The smart workplace: sustainability and resilience
Based on advanced analysis of natural daylight, acoustics, air quality, temperature and material selection, Arup designed for optimal environmental comfort and control. Adopting a state-of-the-art digital building and energy control system - including a fully automated shading façade system - helped optimise user comfort and efficiency.
An energy saving of 40% has been achieved by the detailing the façade according to its orientation (south façade more massing, green roofs), adoption of smart lighting with extensive use of sensors of presence and daylight, large use of solar panels, purchase of renewable energy and carbon credits. Based on these extensive design solutions, the net zero building received a Platinum LEED certification.
Every room includes CO2 sensors to check concentration remains below acceptable levels, while all the internal finishes have been chosen to minimise Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) concentration and sound reverberation.
Green roofs, large planted green areas with limited water need, make a positive contribution to the surrounding natural environment and local biodiversity, with a water-use reduction estimated during the design phase of 30%. More than 90% of construction waste from the building site was correctly recycled, while ensuring control of soil erosion and dust sedimentation.
Innovation, efficiency and resilience were also at the heart of the project. Arup helped Chiesi move from individual to flexible open-plan offices, combining floor plate efficiency optimization with research on workplace trends.
By integrating building services, structural and architectural design, the resilient building can be flexed to cater for a variety of configurations, including future possible expansion through the addition of a third wing. Climate change as well as seismic and wind forces beyond the limit prescribed by local codes are only some of aspects that were considered during design to provide a resilient building.
Green masterplan: connecting with Parma
The new headquarters masterplan is fully integrated with the adjacent Chiesi Research Centre site, creating a coherent permeable campus environment with a distinct identity. The project makes a positive contribution to the surrounding environment with high-quality landscape design, including new bicycle paths, the extension of the public transport, the enhancement of the road network and electric vehicle charging station, to support the transition towards cleaner commuting.
The use of greenfield plots was avoided by choosing a previously developed site, while all available open spaces are planted with lush green vegetation supporting biodiversity and contributing to the city’s KilometroVerdeParma initiative, that seeks to green the A1 motorway that crosses the city.
All images © Marco Introini, courtesy of Chiesi Farmaceutici.