A Living, Breathing Building

The new Spectrum IV facility lives and breathes science, for the purpose of saving lives.

The building serves as the new base of operations in San Diego for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a global company that develops transformative medicines for people with serious and life-threatening diseases. It consists of 170,000 sq. ft. on three floors of state-of-the-art laboratory, office and collaboration spaces above two levels of underground parking in the heart of San Diego's Torrey Pines life sciences cluster. The project was developed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., a leader in owning, operating and developing collaborative and dynamic life science and technology campuses across the country. The ground-up project, which is anticipating LEED Gold certification, includes over an acre of outdoor conferencing, meeting and amenity spaces.


The Right System for the Site

During the project's programming and conceptual design phases, architect and structural engineer LPA Design Studios worked closely with both Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Alexandria along with the project's general contractor, BNBuilders, to address a challenging combination of site constraints and programming requirements. The project site, perched on a scenic canyon rim, has both steep topography and a strict building height limit due to its proximity to the coast. The sloping site resulted in a lower level that opens to the canyon-side outdoor amenity area, while the opposite side is completely below grade.


Exposed Expression

The integrated architecture and structural engineering team collaborated closely on several prominent building features designed to showcase the versatility and beauty of exposed structural steel. One of the most impressive features is a steel "halo" that rings the perimeter of the building, cantilevering up to 25 ft. from the facade. At the rear of the building, the halo is supported by soaring bouquets of whimsically tilted weathering steel HSS columns. These sloping bundles of columns pass through an expansive outdoor deck, allowing building occupants to experience them both visually and tactilely at various scales as they move through the project.


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