SOM’s Training Center Provides New Gateway For Roche Diagnostics’ Indianapolis Campus

Careful attention to sustainable features and principles is informed by Roche’s extensive European experience.

January 30, 2013 |

Ground was broken for the new two-story Roche Diagnostics Training Center, designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM). The 87,135-sf building's crisp white metal and glass forms will establish a new brand identity for the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company's Indianapolis campus, whose buildings were built collectively by a previous owner.

Careful attention to sustainable features and principles is informed by Roche’s extensive European experience. Ample daylighting is provided through a combination of north-facing skylights and extensive exterior glazing which is protected from thermal gain by adjustable, exterior mechanical shading devices. Other advanced environmental features that provide occupant comfort and energy efficiency include chilled beams, radiant panels, and raised floors for mechanical and electrical distribution on both floors.

The building is divided into three distinct zones: (1) The first is a showroom and marketing center, (2) the second is an operational training area for Roche’s diagnostic tools, and (3) the third is a repair training workshop for the same devices. Each zone is organized around double-height, skylit spaces that provide ample daylighting to all building areas while establishing individual identities for each function. Access to natural daylight and a visual connection with the outdoor environment occurs even at the very center of the building. The first floor of the training zones provides hands-on access to equipment that can be readily replaced and serviced through a combination of large doors and raised flooring for reconfiguring power, water, gas, and other essential services to the advanced technical devices as they are rotated and reconfigured over time.

Typical training sessions alternate between the large first floor “super-lab” space and the vertically adjacent second floor seminar rooms—closely connected to one another by a pair of open stairs that provide immediate access for building visitors. The seminar rooms are the optimal shape and size for group learning functions. From the carefully organized non-orthogonal seating to the optimized distance between users and display screens, these rooms will provide comfortable, usable environments for presentations and other training sessions while also providing ample daylight and visual connections both inside and outside the building.

A second floor office area at the south end of the building will provide technologically sophisticated, flexible accommodations for Roche employees without fixed seating assignments made possibly by wireless networking and the mobile reality of the modern office. This “hoteling” concept is being used by Roche in other international locations, but this marks their first, purpose-built application of this concept in a new building within the United States.

The building’s inherently open nature extends down to the level of its carefully detailed steel structure, which is exposed to view throughout. Interior structural columns of 5-1/2-inch square extruded bar stock steel give a sense of rhythm and meter to the elongated open spaces. Their small size emphasizes the verticality of the tall spaces within.

“The new Roche Diagnostics Training Center is a sophisticated, innovative facility that draws on SOM’s celebrated collaborative abilities,” SOM Managing Partner Richard Tomlinson II said.

SOM provided full services including site planning, architectural design, structural engineering, MEP, interiors, and graphics. +

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