Fast Company - - Innovation By Design -

The re­search sci­en­tist doesn’t have to think about why her lab was sit­u­ated on the north side of the build­ing, away from the glare of the sun—only that the airy, win­dowed lab main­tains a pre­cise cli­mate with­out mak­ing her feel shut off. A lawyer need not un­der­stand glass-cur­tain wall con­struc­tion—only that the floor-to-ceil­ing views spur his best think­ing. Such ef­fort­less grace and util­ity re­sult from in­ten­sive plan­ning, co­or­di­na­tion, and a sense of shared mis­sion. Chicago-based Clayco, a real es­tate, ar­chi­tec­ture, en­gi­neer­ing, and con­struc­tion firm, has cre­ated hun­dreds of sig­na­ture build­ings for prom­i­nent com­pa­nies— Ama­zon, Cen­tene, and Cater­pil­lar, to name a few—since 1984 by em­pha­siz­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion and trans­parency. “We’ve worked to align all of the enterprise in­ter­ests with the clients’ goals,” says Bob Clark, Clayco’s founder and CEO. As the com­pany’s mantra, “Beyond Th­ese Walls,” makes clear, the pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tion is more than a phys­i­cal struc­ture. “It’s how peo­ple live and ex­pe­ri­ence the spa­ces, and how it trans­forms their lives on a daily ba­sis,” says Steven War­lick, pres­i­dent of Bates­fo­rum, the ar­chi­tec­ture arm of Clayco.

In­no­va­tion to Spur In­no­va­tion

Pfizer’s planned 295,000-square-foot R&D lab­o­ra­tory in Ch­ester­field, Mis­souri, un­der con­struc­tion and set to open in mid-2019, is a prime ex­am­ple of how a client’s de­sire to im­prove its work­flow can in­spire Clayco’s de­sign. Beyond con­sol­i­dat­ing sev­eral ex­ist­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries into a sin­gle space, Pfizer wanted a phys­i­cal struc­ture that would help its sci­en­tists and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff think and work dif­fer­ently. Re­searchers tra­di­tion­ally com­plete pro­ject seg­ments be­fore hand­ing them off to the next group. “We’re try­ing to blur those lines,” says Ken­dall Kessler, Pfizer’s di­rec­tor of busi­ness strat­egy and op­er­a­tions. “The hope has been to spark more in­no­va­tion and new ap­proaches to sci­en­tific chal­lenges.” Clayco en­vi­sions a “con­tin­u­ous lab­o­ra­tory” with fewer walls be­tween sci­en­tific func­tions and plenty of team rooms, equipped with white­boards, flat screens, and in­te­rior win­dows to wel­come cowork­ers pass­ing by. As con­struc­tion pro­ceeds, drones and work­ers equipped with Hololens gog­gles peer through walls and tiles, send­ing de­tailed in­for­ma­tion to a com­mand cen­ter miles away, help­ing to main­tain qual­ity and con­tain costs.

Stay­ing Home

With the lease on its long­time head­quar­ters ex­pir­ing, ven­er­a­ble Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, law firm Mcguire­woods needed a new home. The build­ing re­quired beauty and func­tion­al­ity be­fit­ting a now-global firm with 1,100 lawyers. While spa­cious digs beck­oned in the sub­urbs,

Right: The aim of Pfizer’s new R&D lab out­side St. Louis, cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion, is “to spark in­no­va­tion and new ap­proaches to sci­en­tific chal­lenges.”

Above: Clayco is in­te­grally in­volved in all as­pects of a pro­ject, in­clud­ing en­gi­neer­ing, de­sign, and con­struc­tion.

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