Pfizer R&D Facility

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The site concept was to integrate the new design-built laboratory facility with its unique site and its natural beauty, sunset views, and dramatic topography.

Pfizer, Inc., one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies hired the integrated CRG, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, and Clayco team to design, build, finance and lease their world class, 295,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that reflects Pfizer’s highest standards for excellence, quality, safety and value.

Pfizer is committed to environmental sustainability, innovative performance, and employee engagement. 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 employee’s experience and the company’s productivity.

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. Lamar Johnson Collaborative has developed a workplace strategy that optimizes space which will manifest in centralized office supplies and storage, a dining facility on the first floor and a centralized cafe on all other floors. An observation study was completed on all labs, office and amenity spaces to identify improvement that supports the nature of work.

photo by: New York Times
photo by: New York Times
photo by: New York Times
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The Pilot Plant is a production facility that will be used for the first run of the innovative products that are being developed in the R&D Lab. The most notable being the complex manufacturing and testing process to create Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine. For a look inside the process of creating and distributing the vaccine, explore The New York Times article, How Pfizer Makes Its Covid-19 Vaccine.

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.


Prefabrication saved the project over $1 million and cut the schedule by approximately 3 months. We worked with our partners, including the engineering team, vendors, trade partners, Lamar Johnson Collaborative, and EwingCole, and identified components of the project best assembled off-site: Core wall lab utility chase, Cell bank wall panels, MEP equipment racks, Pump skids, Piping racks, Electrical gear, & Plumbing fixture carriers.

Core Wall Technology

The most impactful and innovative system of which is the utility core wall that will be located in the labs. Traditionally core wall frames are placed in the field 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 durations. Using BIM, we engaged Pfizer in selecting these best options for their building. Because our selections were built off-site in an environment with rigorous quality requirements, prefabrication also proved a higher quality solution.

Efficient Laboratories

The laboratory space is organized around module that delivers a combination of efficiency and flexibility. It allows equipment and casework changes to be made in short, middle, or long term. The continuous laboratory configuration provides a universal lab environment that is easily modified. Views from the labs to the outdoors 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.

Innovation Courtyard

The buildings 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. It 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. The efficient lab and office floors above follow the same u-shaped circulation pattern connected by localized vertical connectivity.

Beyond These Walls

Our jobsite in Chesterfield, Missouri had a surprise guest at their safety lunch. Santa stopped by to hand out Clayco t-shirts and host a raffle to raise money for a family the crew is sponsoring for the holidays.




Chesterfield, Missouri


295,000 SF


  • Architect: Lamar Johnson Collaborative and Ewing Cole
  • Delivery Type: Design-Build


St. Louis Business Journal’s 2020 Building St. Louis Awards for Public/Private Projects More Than $10 million