Photo: Manasc Isaac Architects

Top Projects 2015: Gilead Sciences New Laboratory

Sustainability (TIE) 

Industrial—Under $50 Million

With a mandate to help expedite the development of new pharmaceuticals, Gilead Sciences New Laboratory embodies the contemporary design, sustainability and functionality you would expect from an innovative biopharmaceutical company. 

Gilead Sciences is a research-based company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical needs. For example, the company pioneered a single-pill treatment for patients with HIV, streamlining “cocktail” drugs and complicated dosing schedules. Its investigational drugs also include treatments for AIDS, liver diseases, cancer, inflammatory and respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular conditions.

Situated on a 10-acre site in northeast Edmonton, the new three-storey, 65,000-square-foot facility includes laboratory and office space to house more than 80 scientists working on the development and manufacturing of investigational drugs for clinical research programs.

As a construction managed design-assist project, the contract model engaged the construction team and major trade partners early on in the design process. The project, designed by Manasc Isaac Architects, benefited from other team members’ experience and advice, expediting the design-construction process and drawing on the building team’s knowledge to better manage costs. The project also benefited from Graham’s 16-year relationship with the client. Graham has subsequently been awarded phase 2 of the project, which involves the construction of a duplicate lab for $32.67 million.

The high-efficiency envelope that wraps around the building is just one of the features that makes the building sustainable. Inside, a high-tech heat-recovery system reuses waste heat from the exhaust air stream of the lab’s 40 fume hoods.

Another feature that sets the project apart is the fact that there are no sewers to drain stormwater away. Stormwater management will be managed entirely on site.

To allow for suppliers to deliver and refill gases and chemicals with ease, the north side of the building features a self-contained chemical storage and loading area and also allows for the removal of chemical waste. The chemicals, gases and waste get transported to the main laboratory through an overhead piping system.

During construction, Graham effectively managed challenges, including the many oil and gas pipelines in the area as well as a main CN rail track and shunting station. Graham worked closely and coordinated with the railway on concrete pour days. Some other noteworthy elements of the project include self-performing the concrete structure utilizing asset management software for the tower crane, power generation systems and concrete formwork.

Gilead Alberta officially cut the ribbon to the state-of-the-art research and development facility on May 27, 2015.

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