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Pfizer Building 500

  • Sandwich, UK

  • 2000

  • Photos: Charlotte Wood

Pfizer, a leading international pharmaceutical company, represents the driving force in the economy of Sandwich, Kent. The new headquarters, known as “Building 500” is the latest and the biggest of a series of buildings born thanks to the investments by Pfizer in the last decade. .
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AMEC Ltd., one of the most important British building firms, has taken care of the architecture and management of this work, having extensive experience in the construction of laboratories and research centres.
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The building consists of 4 horizontally developed blocks, linked by different types of facetted glazing, the largest “main node” 2 smaller “mini nodes” and a link bridge, which enclose a central courtyard.

The technology

This project was complicated by the various different applications of the glazing, with the large facetted bay-windows having a considerable span of approximately 12m x 12m with glazed modules of 3.4 m x 2.1m..
The façade employed vertical structural silicone joints and a bespoke horizontal cover cap while the spandrel areas differentiate from the glass with the use of projecting aluminium panels..
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“Okalux,” a proprietary light diffusing system was incorporated within the double glazed units, it’s cellular nature considerably improved visual comfort internally..
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The “main node” consists of a structurally siliconed concave facade and a bolted glass screen which forms the principle entrance to the building. Each glass pane to this element is individually supported by a stainless steel fusion support with 4 arms which in turn is fixed to the main supporting structure of circular hollow sections..
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The main entrance is crossed via 2 glass tunnels called “Panoramic Science Corridors”, these projecting glazed screens are fixed with specially formulated bolt fixings welded to the supporting structure..
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The “mini nodes” follow the same concept as the bay windows on the main node, with the addition of Brise Soleil which follow the facetted line of the cladding..
An unusual fixing method was adopted with the introduction of stainless steel tie rods which are fixed into special grooves within the mullions..
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The two stair cores are both fully glazed, therefore, due to their transparency, all the bracketary and fixings have been fabricated from stainless steel in a style which aesthetically complements the façade.

Architects

David Hammond and AMEC Group Ltd

David Hammond and the notorious AMEC Group Ltd joined their skills with Focchi on the Pfizer Building 500 construction, located in Sandwich, UK.