WuXi Biologics have established the first Chinese owned Bio-Pharmaceutical production plant in Ireland. It is located on an IDA Industrial Park near Dundalk, Co. Louth. The overall value of the investment is more than €750 million.
The WuXi Biologics Ireland Headquarters and plant was imagined as one integrated building to house the company offices laboratory and plant. The key architectural decision in the design was to replace the traditional 'production corridor' typical in such facilities, with a 25m high light filled atrium, that links the the Laboratories/Admin Building with the Production Building. This connectivity at every level of the complex breaks down the traditional barriers between production staff and admin/support staff and reflects the underlying philosophy of WuXi as an employer. The new light-filled building features a sculptural staircase in the atrium that gives access to all floors creating the opportunity for staff to socialise and ideate.
The buildings are clad with high quality dark grey and silver-grey metal insulated panels, with double glazed aluminium windows bringing light into the deep plan. Anodised brise-soleil runs the length of the building to shield the laboratories on the two upper levels of the headquarters building and the office accommodation to the first floor.
The project was carried out in Revit using BIM360, as the platform to share modelled information at all stages.
The Laboratories were designed by STW and the Interiors by STW Interiors Department who also selected the furniture for the complex, working closely with the client and project management team. The space is designed to minimise the private offices in favour of open plan layout, where all staff can benefit from a view and light. An abundance of amenity and support spaces with collaborative furniture are provided throughout the building, ensuring employees and visitors feel welcome and open to collaboration in the environment.
The use of cutting-edge material finishes provide a clarity and simplicity to the design, while maintaining warmth and familiarity. In the open plan, a series of neighbourhoods are created by utilising the assorted WuXi Biologics branding colours in the selected fabrics and finishes. The transition between the significantly differing space types - offices, production,
canteen, training facilities and laboratories - was a key consideration in ensuring that the “look and feel” of the entire complex is clear and integrated, “one vision” in accordance with the client objectives.
A sustainable bio-resin terrazzo floor - made of a coloured bio-based binder and mixed with a matrix of marble, glass and other natural materials - was chosen. This retains the richness of a traditional Terrazzo but improves its environmental performance, exploiting the latest green technologies and supporting the fast and lean construction program. The desire to design within the clean aesthetic of a pharmaceutical industry, without losing the warmth and textural effect of a traditional floor covering, resulted in the choice of a woven vinyl flooring in the offices spaces, and high-density, bakelite-core floor boards, which are clad with natural oak veneer and treated with synthetic resin, in the support spaces.
Urban Design & Planning
STW were commissioned to design the facility in the context of an existing IDA generic Planning Permission and the requirement for WuXi to be a global exemplar in design quality. The commission was exceptional in terms of the programme, from appointment to Planning Application in just seven weeks and to start on site in just seventeen weeks.