Georgia BioScience Training Center

Project Description

The Center — operated by Georgia Quick Start, a division of the Technical College System of Georgia— was designed to meet three main objectives: to serve as a flexible facility that can accommodate a variety of industry training technologies, laboratory operations and pedagogical approaches; to be a dramatic showcase for economic development to serve as a strong marketing piece to present to professionals and prospective industry clients; and to create a ‘home’ for bio-industry professionals in Georgia with state-of-the-art conferencing and meeting spaces that will host networking and professional events that create synergies across the state. Assistant Commissioner for Economic Development for the Technical College System Jackie Rohosky stated, “Beyond training and the provision of a pool of workforce talent, we also collaborated with Baxalta on the design of the center by deciding what needs to go into planning a state-of-the-art facility. We initially looked at other centers, but decided to go with an entirely original design—a one-of-a-kind. We looked to nature and many of the aesthetics tied to the life sciences industry”.

The design team advanced the clients vision with subtractive design ideas; in effect each decision should resolve multiple issues and create a uniquely tailored experience. The approach to the Training Center was to synthesize multiple levels of transparency, material contrast, and engineering to create a strong juxtaposition against the natural backdrop. Guests are engaged by a main entrance canopy structure that is engineered as a double cantilever. The client’s goal of a high-tech/high performance building translated into the idea of a secondary skin or “veil”. This stainless steel fabric screen reduces solar glare and heat gain with a precision engineered aesthetic. The resulting shading device is expressed independently from the main envelope with faceted panels to create a sense of movement by reflecting the sun and sky to create depth, shadow, and crystalline effect. When siting the building, we elevated the natural grade to provide a greater scale and presence while visually screening services and parking. Labs, classrooms, offices, and multipurpose/event spaces were designed with a module to enable future flexibility.

Building planning centered on the idea of a “10 minute marketing tour” as the state will tour thousands of future “prospect” companies through the facility. The spaces were organized around a central ellipse shaped event space courtyard which is open to the sky and lined with glass walls, infusing light to interior circulation and breakout collaboration spaces. Diffused “borrowed” light then passes into the training spaces. By centralizing this natural amenity and event space, all spaces are energized by daylight while vistas create an open, highly-collaborative environment. Modular planning provides flexibility for future companies that may require space modifications. The module is expressed in the architecture to provide scale and rhythm. The result is a high performance design that evokes the sophistication of 21st century bio-manufacturing.