Curing Diseases in an Inspiring Space

Aug. 10, 2021
University City Square, Philadelphia, Pa.

Amicus Therapeutics is dedicated to “the fight to remain at the forefront of therapies for rare and orphan diseases.” It is a mission that is incredibly personal to Chairman and ceo, John F. Crowley. Two of his children were born with Pompe disease, a rare neuromuscular genetic disease that Amicus is working to cure in its new 46,000-sq.-ft. Global Research and Gene Therapy Center of Excellence in University City Square, Philadelphia, Pa.

This state-of-the-art research facility is located in the top two floors of a 14-story tower, which was itself a design challenge, because the building was not inherently equipped to provide the security and hazard control required in biosafety level 2 (BSL2) labs. The design team at crb-pa found innovative solutions to incorporate the mechanical and hvac systems necessary and even installed a nitrogen gas generation system into the building’s penthouse.

It was important to Amicus that this new space inspire employees and foster collaboration, so the architects looked for ways to overcome the inherent disconnect that existed in the space being divided between two floors. They created an open central core with a double-height atrium that featured a dramatic staircase and a custom Soft Sound floating wall, manufactured by Arktura, that mimics the genetic sequence of Pompe’s disease.

The lighting design, created by The Lighting Practice, was explained by the firm as, “Sinuous lines of light that encircle the atrium, providing a visual reference and illuminating collaboration and touchdown areas. Organic forms are emphasized with continuous curvilinear slots, decorative fixtures and cove lighting. Recessed troffers in the lab and open office provide high-performance illumination and a clean aesthetic.”

The project has earned several awards: an IIDA PA/NJ/DE Design Awards, Winner, Best of Corporate 20,000 SF+, an ENR MidAtlantic Best Project Award: Award of Merit, 2020, and an IES International Illumination Award: Award of Merit, 2020.

Looking Up: The atrium’s ceiling mimics the gene sequence of Pompe’s disease, an illness Amicus is working to cure, which double as lighting and acoustic control with backlit acoustic panels.

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