In 2003, leading Turkish pharmaceutical manufacturer Abdi Ibrahim renovated its headquarters: the production and research facilities, and management and sales offices. The Dante O. Benini & Partners Architects practice was in charge of the architectural and refurbishment project.
The R&D building is appropriately a dynamically contemporary structure with state-of-the-art plant and service incorporated into the building. Part of the 15,000 sq m volume over four levels is below ground. The building stands on a plot that natural forces seem to have crunched upwards to form a luxuriant south-facing sloping roof garden on which to walk.
The two underground levels go down to 12 m below street level. As a result the aboveground volume is fairly small: a dynamic, horizontally projected structure whose oblique curtain walling rises from the man-made hillock to meet at a sharp point. Part architecture, part land-art, the glazed walls are curved, inclined surfaces supported by obliquely set pillars and aluminium-clad steel beams.
The interiors are huge environments of double, triple and even full four-storey height. Balconies at different levels give views onto these large volumes. Natural light floods into the interior from a huge eye cut into the sloping wall and from steel-framed skylights, their panes shaded from the sun by metal mesh. The side windows are also shaded in the same way.
The ground floor is given over to public functions: the reception and meeting rooms are set around the large atrium and the main cantilevered staircase supported by two concrete structures that rise the full height of the building. Below ground, a winter garden, naturally lit by the glazed facade, is a key focus for those on the upper-level balconies. Internal partitions and offices’ furnishing are custom made by italian manufacturer Unifor.
A geothermal plant exploits the constant temperature of underground water to provide heating and cooling. Other plant and services ensure recycling of water, and the use of steam and air to produce electricity.
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