Young Spanish architecture studio estudioSic has recently completed the biopharmaceutical plant for GH Genhelix BioPharma in Léon. The plant is the first antibody monoclonal manufacturing plant built in Spain, and the architects sought to express of the complex inner manufacturing processes of the product, designing a technological, efficient and sustainable building.
The building is located next to the Madrid-Asturias high-speed train. Inspired by this factor, the architects sought to incorporate this high-speed status in the building, taking advantage of the site's maximum visibility and responding to the different mobility levels that occur in the science park: HST, private vehicle and pedestrian.
The five main volumes — offices, laboratories, production, utilities and warehouse — are combined in a compact scheme, structured through the circulation between each piece. The necessity to have spaces of internal growth to future extensions, anticipated by the company in a short term of time, is incorporated as design criteria from the beginning of the project. A series of voids in the east and west façades allow for building growth without overall volume modification or outer image affection.
The working spaces relate the outside through a metallic skin and great glass hollows which compose the façade. As an interface between the environment and the working space, the façade expresses the underlying drivers of the company: health, hygiene and quality, generating a white, clean, aseptic and corporative architecture. The expanded metal skin unifies the offices and the R+D laboratories offering a unique homogenous image to all the plant. On the skin the company logo appears as an unstructured typography. An exhaustive system of decomposition the letters are disturbed according to the different perception points, simulating the movement of the enterprise logo based on the direction and the speed of the observer: the fragmented central vision takes step to lateral and fleeting visions totally constructed.
The project is generated from an optimized modulated structure of 6 x 7.5 metres. This standard and modular construction not only achieves a reduced cost, but generates a customized and strong identity for the building. The building's projected canopy locates the beginning of the path and the building main access. Inside, the ground floor the stairs are placed as first perception of the company as well as the connection between the lower semipublic space with the collective working zone upstairs. This space works as meeting point and the communication node of the company. In the first level two working places coexist: the open room, and a more secluded work area. These are separated by a divisible meeting room.
These design criteria are extended to the whole building, unifying them with a constructive system formed by 40 millimetre sandwich panels, with length up to 12 metres enclosing the building. The pace of the façade pace is repeated each metre, and is defined by the curvature of the outer plate, allowing to distinguish both skins in a unique constructive solution. The façade structure is fitted between the panels, allowing glimpses of the outside's metallic mesh.
EstudioSic: GH Genhelix BioPharma Headquarters in Léon, Spain
Architects: Estudio SIC (Esaú Acosta, Mauro Gil-Fournier, Miguel Jaenicke)
Team: Alfredo Borghi, Nieves Valle, Matteo Ferrari
Co-authors: Pedro Colón, Raquel Buj
Team: Fhecor, Jose María Heras, IPD, David García, Gumersindo Fuertes
Client: GH Genhelix
Construction phase: 2008 — 2011
Contractor: García de Celis
Budget: €4,890,000 Site Area: 8,380 square metres