Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. opens OPN-designed, state-of-the-art R&D facility in Ames

Value through innovation.

Those three words not only inform the work done every day at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., an international animal pharmaceutical company, they were also the guiding principle for the design of the company’s new state-of-the-art modern research laboratory and office building in Ames.

The scientists who work at BIVI in Ames, “now have an ideal environment in which to continue to address the medical needs of all animals, and they contributed greatly to the building’s creation,” Dr. Mike Roof, executive director of biologics research and development and head of the research center, told those assembled at the facility’s opening ceremony in April.

At the event, Roof was joined by Dr. Albrecht Kissel, president and CEO of BIVI; by Phil Hayes, DVM, vice president of US animal health research and development;  Iowa Govenor Terry Branstad; Debi Durham of the Iowa State Economic Development Authority and Mike Crum, Iowa State University vice president of economic development. The Ames Chamber of Commerce conducted a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the building, which is located at Iowa State University’s Research Park.

The 55,000-square-foot, two-story building is dedicated entirely for research and development.

“As this project comes to a close we want to extend our thanks to the entire OPN team for their contributions throughout the effort,” Dr. Roof said. “There is no doubt that you were essential in the delivery of a facility that was 100 percent functional for our needs but also provided the work environment our culture craves!”

The $20 million research center, which features an open concept designed for collaboration and interaction among scientists. The first floor is composed of almost 30,000 square-feet of laboratory space, and the second floor houses work spaces and conference rooms. The labs are designed to facilitate a cohesive flow from one area to another. The scientists specifically requested natural light, and both floors accommodate this with large windows in the labs and glass walls in the office areas, allowing researchers to connect with each other while also bringing in sunlight for a more vibrant environment.  The space has the potential to accommodate more than 100 scientists conducting research in the five target areas for BIVI: swine, cattle, equine, canine and feline.It was laid out to integrate stringent procedural process to ensure that all labs – bio-hazard level 2, specialty, and general – each maintain optimal conditions.  To create a hub outside the laboratory space, the two-story light filled lobby serves as a meet-me-in-the middle gathering area for social interaction and collaboration.  It also incorporates a large feature wall with views into the general lab space to enable visitors a glimpse into the research and development areas with-out requiring the full lab entry procedure.

The second floor includes meeting spaces ranging from small enclave areas for one or two people to a videoconference area, a dining space and a floating conference room cantilevered over the building’s lobby. The office space incorporates forward-thinking workplace concepts of maximizing daylighting, flexibility of personal and conference work zones, current technology integration, and relaxing break and social areas including a green roof and patio.  Conference and teaming rooms of all sizes and functions maximize occupant productivity and well-being.

Multiple building element accents infuse the BIVI brand into the design, which was important to the owner. The bottle wall consisting of more than 1,500 vaccine bottles creates a beautiful transition from the public space. The café branding wall composed of thousands of small animal images creating a larger image of a pig speaks to the company’s purpose in delivering innovative animal vaccines around the globe. Finally, a wood sculpted feature wall provides an illuminated frame into the laboratory to emphasize the importance of the science being performed.

The building’s orientation and massing were based on maximizing daylighting, which resulted in a single, elegant narrow glass office bar that floats above the wood clad base containing the much deeper lab space.  The idea of an “object in the landscape” pushed the site to consist primarily of native prairie grasses.

Completed in January 2016, the project was designed by David Sorg, principal-in-charge; Matthew Stewart, project manager; Mindy Sorg, interior designer and workplace strategist; and Denise Clark, landscape architect.