Pfizer R&D Facility Case Study

Pharmaceutical Innovation

Pfizer Inc. discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets leading prescription medicines for humans and many of the world’s best-known consumer brands. Their innovative, value-added products improve the quality of life of people around the world and help them enjoy longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Pfizer’s products are available in more than 150 countries.

One of a Kind

Pfizer was looking for a design-build relationship with a developer, where the developer would assume all responsibility for the architectural and engineering design, permitting, construction, delivery and financing for a laboratory, office space and a pilot plant.

They found the entire solution in the CRG/Clayco/Lamar Johnson Collaborative/EwingCole team.

The Team

CRG, Clayco, and its subsidiary, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, is a fully integrated design, build and development company, which added strategic partners to deliver “best value” for Pfizer. The integrated nature of our development team allowed us to communicate and challenge each other to drive better results for Pfizer. CRG, Clayco, EwingCole, Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Stock & Associates form the nucleus of our design and development team. Each of these firms offers a specific benefit to the project.

Team Collaborators

Integrated Approach

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

With the opportunity to bring together groups of investigators/researchers from key research departments into a collaborative, state-of-the-art environment to solve complex health problems in biopharmaceutical chemistry, no one wanted to leave anything to chance.

The Desire for a Perfect Solution

The Clayco team submitted their initial development proposal to Pfizer for the research building in June 2016. Based upon this proposal, Clayco was successful in securing the project and began working hard right away. Next came a period of discovery and finalization of the scope with the Pfizer team. Through this process, the team worked extremely hard and at a very rapid pace to design and vet out all potential options to be positioned for construction. There were several day-long work sessions with the Design-Build team, the Design-Build subcontractors and the client/user group team to identify and evaluate the items that were needed and those that were not, in order to stay within budget.

Leadership in Technology

Clayco’s technology team was instrumental in conducting a performance analysis of the proposed curtain wall system and submitting the findings to designers, in addition to taking the lead on re-formulating industry best practices for digitally-enabled layout and the use of drones during several critical phases of site development and underground scope.

Benefits of BIM

Harnessing the power of a digital model can only be as effective as our ability to democratize the process of information sharing and use. The entire set of models – Architectural, Structural, MEPFP – was coordinated not only for conflict resolution and pre-fabrication sequencing, but also for optimal field experience and integration into future CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) and CAFM (Computer-Aided Facility Management) processes, thus responsible for translating digital into physical and back.


The most impactful and innovative system is the utility core wall that will be located in the labs. Traditionally, core wall frames are placed in the field and then are piped onsite by the various trades. Our team developed a method that permits all of this to occur off site at a shared facility where the lab vendor supplies the framework and it is assembled in sections that are sized per lab but also sized to maximize shipping and on-site installation efficiencies. The trades then pre-pipe and cap all utilities in preparation for shipping. Once on-site, the lab fixtures are added along with the core wall ‘skin.’ This solution eliminated issues due to lead times, complex assemblies, and high labor costs over long periods.

Providing a View of the Future

In all that the team is doing for the Pfizer project we are focused on meeting and exceeding expectations. A few things we have already begun to work toward include:

Lease Structure: CRG competed against other developers and won in part by offering a variety of different lease structures for consideration allowing for a custom structure for Pfizer. All options were reviewed and discussed in CRG’s transparent approach, including lease pricing and financing options/cost. This process insures CRG’s clients always get the most competitive and best fitting outcome for their needs. In this particular case, Pfizer chose to own their site rather than lease it.
Cost Control & Mission Critical Delivery: Cost control and mission critical delivery dates are a significant part of the project requirements. CSI and Ventana were involved from day one and work with the design team to help drive a best value solution and are performing the work on an open book basis to ensure that cost control, quality and schedule are maintained.
Growth: The program’s growth assumptions, were developed by EwingCole. The building needs continue to grow and the growth assumptions are working. Site design, building organization, and massing could lead to a future building.
Innovation: The need to bring people together is critical in the world of research. Pfizer was interested in creating some type of hub to foster communities. A collaboration link is a unique solution. It provides space for open collaboration and interaction. It is 3 stories of conferencing and collaboration space.

The Design Story

Pfizer, one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical corporations, is committed to environmental sustainability, innovative performance, and employee engagement. The intent of our design is to reach each of those diverse goals. The site concept is to integrate the new laboratory building with this unique site and its natural beauty, sunset views, and dramatic topography. The building program is strategically organized to provide operational efficiency and enhance cooperation. Unique collaborative spaces both inside and outside provide opportunities for innovation. Connecting nature, program, and people will enhance employees’ experience and the company’s productivity.

Welcoming Presense

An entry plaza set in a formal landscape greets visitors when they arrive. The building is formed by two distinct volumes. The upper lab and office volume, clad in sleek fritted glass, floats above the entry creating a simple, forward thinking image for the building. The entrance is framed by a stone clad ground base deeply articulated by sculpted windows. Together, the sculptural forms create a dynamic, yet welcoming presence in the form of a generous entrance porch. A wood soffit that provides warmth and pedestrian scale extends into the lobby.

Innovation Courtyard

The building’s dense program wraps around a courtyard that acts as the natural heart of the building. It is framed at the ground floor by diverse programs including the lobby, dinning, office, and most importantly collaboration space. The u-shaped office and lab bar wraps the courtyard at the two upper levels. Its active gathering spaces open to the landscape at its western edge. Native landscape also flows into the space. The courtyard embodies the open spirit of the scientific community and collaborative innovation.

Community Circulation

Connectivity between the lab, office, production and collaborative programs is critical, especially communal programs. Circulation wraps the courtyard at each level of the structure. Each level of the structure has a u-shaped circulation pattern around the first-level courtyard. The pattern links the entry, seminar rooms, and dining directly to the collaboration link on the ground floor. Each of these zones of activity provides a direct relationship to the adjacent landscape.

Collaboration Link

Upon entrance through the lobby, employees have access to three floors of collaborative programming that serve both office and lab users. It is a dynamic space pierced with a dramatic open stair that encourages interaction at the strategic heart of both program and circulation. The goal is to foster a sense of community with a full array of amenities including spaces for community gathering, intense meeting, individual thinking, retreat refreshment and casual conversation zones. Together with sophisticated yet intuitive technology, the spaces encourage both social and scientific interaction.

Efficient Laboratories

The continuous laboratory configuration provides a universal lab environment that is easily modified. Boundaries between groups are changeable as one group grows and another shrinks. Views of the outdoors from the labs and ample daylight are proven morale builders associated with low turnover and absentee rates. The critical science happening inside is protected by high performance glass that ensures 97% of UV light is blocked while maintaining clear visibility. Visual comfort is further enhanced through a unique ceramic frit pattern in the glass that references the protein manipulation that happens in the labs.

General Building Editions

The building design is fundamentally based on the Continuous Lab Concept, where the linear lab zone runs uninterrupted, parallel to a continuous office zone, separated by a generous corridor serving both lab and office. This approach allows maximum flexibility for the labs to change size over time.

The concept has been customized for this site, by truing the Z-shape into a U-shape with a collaboration link central to the U.

Workplace Strategy & Interiors

A workplace strategy was developed for the Pfizer R&D Faciliy based on evidence collected by Lamar Johnson Collaborative on the existing nature of work, industry best practices and direction from Pfizer leadership. The open work-office is balanced by directly adjacent focus rooms and small group collaboration spaces. The Collaboration Link on each floor is connected by an open stair and provides meeting space, comfortable seating, and a place for community and social refresh. Well-being is infused into the entire workplace through the use of sit-to-stand workstations, a fitness center, nurse-wellness center, and the availability of natural daylight and views of nature.

Planning & Landscaping Architecture

The unique natural setting on the west side of the site provides opportunities to bring Pfizer’s talent outdoors in collaborative spaces for working groups or as individuals for contemplation. The facility is integrated into the landscape yet situated at the highest point of the site to provide bluff like views across the adjacent woodland treetops. The front door connects though the lobby to a courtyard that provides collaborative working spaces, outdoor dining, and landscape terraces visually connecting down to the existing woodland.