February 1, 2013
At Pfizer’s new research lab, innovative drug development is made possible by adaptable design.
Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
Center for Life Science Boston
3 Blackfan Circle
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The Boston laboratory of Pfizer’s new research branch, the Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI), has a very clear message. “It says, ‘We’re welcoming you into our space—this is what we do,’” says the interior designer Jennifer Mango of Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, who designed both the CTI and the larger biotech complex that houses it—the Center for Life Science Boston.
The CTI’s new mode of pharmaceutical study upends the traditional model, in which drug companies conduct research in secret and then partner with medical institutions for clinical trials. It embraces early-stage collaborations with external partners who work alongside scientists during research and drug development.
Traditionally, labs have built-in casework where all utilities run out of the wall—moving anything around would require a complete rewiring. The CTI’s transparent, 13,000-square-foot, 18th-floor facility is furnished with custom benches manufactured by A.T. Villa USA that are wired from moveable ceiling panels. “Labs in and of themselves are not flexible,” Mango says. “But we did try to make the lab adaptive. Researchers can have five or 15 feet of bench space—depending on current partnerships. The CTI wanted to utilize the space as efficiently as possible as well as put forth an identity for this new brand. They hadn’t had the chance to brand themselves, so this gave them the opportunity.”