The Learning and Development Center for Roche Diagnostics, a Swiss-based medical diagnostics company, is a study in architecture’s role in defining corporate character. Extensive use of bright white metal within a modernist palette of glass and steel establish the company’s European brand standards and reinforce consistent brand identity on a campus of existing buildings alongside a well-traveled highway corridor northeast of Indianapolis, Indiana.
Comprised of three distinct program zones – a VIP sales suite, customer training labs, and seminar rooms – organized around double-height, daylit spaces, the 87,000-square-foot building embodies the company’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, energy efficiency and an architectural philosophy of “Spartanic elegance.” An innovative series of functional elements within the building reflect the scientific functionalism of Roche’s products.
Northerly facing, vertical sawtooth skylight monitors introduce daylight deep into the center of the building’s nave-like plan. High-performance exterior venetian blinds reduce thermal heat gain during the summer and admit passive heat during the winter. Radiant panels integrated into the exposed ceiling balance the building’s heating and cooling needs, which are supplemented by an underfloor air distribution system.
The second-floor seminar rooms overlook an open, “hands-on” training superlab which occupies the majority of the ground floor, where open, flexible, breakout spaces abut formal meeting rooms. Art and architecture merge throughout the building, including a 300-foot-long graphic history wall, designed by the architect, to visualize Roche Diagnostics corporate and community history.
The building’s simplicity, efficiency, and adherence to strict sustainability standards reinforce Roche Diagnostics’ corporate ethos through an architectural lens.
Roche Diagnostics is a globally recognized sustainability leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, as well as the CDP Water A-List and recognized as one of the top 50 “companies that care for their communities,” according to People Magazine. It was a requirement that the Learning and Development Center comply with Roche’s corporate K18 guidelines for environmental design, construction, and operational mandates over the long term. In accordance with these standards, the Learning and Development Center uses a series of high-performance sustainability strategies that also have the potential to meet or exceed LEED Platinum requirements and is designed to surpass the energy goals of the AIA 2030 commitment.
A series of northerly facing, vertical sawtooth skylight monitors, introduce daylight deep into the center of the building. A radiant panel heating and cooling system integrated into the ceiling construction balances the building’s heating and cooling needs and an underfloor air distribution (UFAD) system provides ventilation and supplemental cooling as required, while improving indoor air quality.
The raised access flooring utilized in the construction of the UFAD system also allows for efficient routing of building services, and a modular electrical wiring system allows for flexible work spaces that accommodate a variety of activities without impacting basic building services. When new diagnostic equipment or training needs are implemented within the lab, the flexible design reduces downtime and maximizes long term operational cost savings.
The building enclosure utilizes high-performance, low-e coated, argon-filled insulated glazing units and a window-to-wall ratio of less than 60%, with a majority of opaque walls along the primary east and west orientations to minimize solar heat gain. The east, west and southern facing façades utilizes computer-controlled exterior venetian blinds to protect and regulate the building envelope from thermal heat gain and glare during the summer and admit passive heat during the winter. The façade design incorporates fixed overhangs while deciduous trees planted along the south façade provide shade for the building in the summer and admittance of daylight and controlled solar heat gain in the winter.
LED luminaries are used for all lighting, maximizing energy efficiencies provided by daylight harvesting, and include fully dimmable features and controls, incorporated with occupancy sensors linked to the HVAC demand-control ventilation system.
The current building design allows the campus to operate below its current peak electrical demand, even though the new Training and Development Center has increased the company’s overall campus footprint as measured by total square footage. With design strategies incorporating thermal comfort, daylighting, ventilation, and acoustics, the company continues to drive its commitment to leadership in sustainability.
The Learning and Development Center is the highest performing building on Roche Diagnostics’ Indianapolis Campus, in reference to its aggregate energy and carbon reduction strategies, and sets the sustainability standard for future campus development. A combination of daylighting, LED lighting, automated exterior sunshading, and radiant panel systems accomplish a pEUI of 48.0 kBTU/sf/yr and a regional energy reduction of 60.5 percent compared to the commercial building energy consumption survey (CBECS). The lighting power density is 0.618 w/sf.
Located in a suburban area along a highway roughly 14 miles from downtown Indianapolis, the Learning and Development Center and surrounding commercial properties are “car-dependent,” with a Walk Score of 23, and “somewhat bikeable,” with a Bike Score of 32, consistent with neighborhood averages. Nearby parks include North Eastway Park, Sahm Park, and Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve.
Low-flow plumbing fixtures are installed throughout the building, while storm water management on site fits into existing campus infrastructure, including a controlled flow of storm water through a series of surrounding retention ponds.
All major interior architectural surfaces use durable, long-lasting, inherently inert materials, such as limestone flooring and glass wall panels for the lobby, lab spaces, and training rooms. The program supports large, open, interior spaces, which minimizes the use of materials for room divisions and surface materials.
The homogenous sheet flooring throughout the lab areas is applied directly to the raised floor tile, minimizing adhesive and waste. The flooring has a low VOC (TVOC after 28 days < 10µg/m3), with characteristics that do not require additional surface coatings at installation, or regular maintenance, eliminating the chance for additional VOCs to be released into the work environment.
FSC-certified wood veneer is utilized throughout the building. White aniline dyed veneer is utilized in the public spaces and the VIP Sales Center to denote vertical circulation elements, elevators, and stairs. The meeting rooms on the second floor utilize a gray aniline dyed veneer to provide differentiation in the glass-fronted rooms.
The meeting rooms necessitate the acoustic properties of carpet. A carpet tile was selected for less waste and the ability to spot-replace damaged or worn tiles, and includes a non-PVC backing, as well as Green Label Plus, Cradle to Cradle Silver, and LBC-compliant certifications to ensure very low VOCs.
To enhance the daylighting effects light colors with high light reflectivity and low glare were selected for finishes on the ceiling (0.7 LRV), floor (0.2 LRV), walls (0.5 LRV) and work surfaces (0.5 LRV).
• Viracon VNE 1-63, 0.25” clear tempered with VNE-63 coating on #2 surface, 0.5” argon-filled airspace with stainless steel spacer, and 0.25” clear tempered.
• Sobotec Ltd. SL2000 metal panel rainscreen with 4mm Alucobond Composite PE core.
Standing Seam Roofing:
• Englert, Inc. Series 2500 structural and architectural mechanically seamed panel system made from 0.04” aluminum
• Derbigum cold-applied modified bitumen roof system with positive slope; solar reflective index of 92-94.
Concrete Pavers (Plinth):
• Hanover 33”x15” Prest Paver system in Glacier White, concrete with a Tudor finish.
Radiant Cooling and Heating Ceiling System
• Lindner Plafotherm E 214 suspended radiant perforated ceiling with acoustic fleece backing.
• Lindner Free 910 Wall Cladding with customized steel sidewall panels perforated for return air path.
• Lindner LMD-TS 100 customized composite panel made with Aloned reflective aluminum sheeting, including a 1100 G Finish (Deco Prime 11).
Raised Access Floor – Stone Finish:
• Lindner Nortec 40 ST composite (Jura Beige Limestone, Honed) raised access floor panel with stone finish, factory applied.
Raised Access Floor – Vinyl Finish:
• Lindner Nortec 40 ST composite raised access floor panel with factory applied vinyl finish.
Carpeted Raised Access Floor:
• Tate raised access floor panel with carpet tile overlaid in the field.
Interior Glass – Entry Lobby Wall:
• Bendheim SOMC 115435 etched 0.25” white glass.
Interior Glass – Seminar Rooms:
• Viracon composite build-up 0.5” clear tempered glass with PVB interlayer, STC 40
Wood Veneer (VIP Millwork and Stair 4):
• Tabu Ash with plain slice cut and white aniline dyed finish.