A WELLDESIGNED BUILDING IS ONE THAT INSPIRES GREATNESS IN ITS OCCUPANTS.
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.
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.