Alexandria Real Estate, a developer Building the Future of Life Science™; their tenant Vertex, a Boston-based biotech company; LPA, an award-winning architecture firm; along with McCullough, came together to create the new vision set by Vertex for their San Diego facility. A leader in transformative medicine for genetic disease, the company wanted to create a sophisticated and attractive work environment to recruit and retain the most talented research scientists in the world. The goal was to allow employees and visitors a place to gather, connect and enjoy the natural beauty of the area’s Torrey Pines habitat.
Early on, it was made clear the task would include connecting the people of Vertex with their natural environment. Drawing from the knowledge of the historic Torrey Pines area, a geological feature within the reserve known as taphoni gave an abstract inspiration to design a landscape that resembles these naturally forming cavities. The landscape design team developed a theme around these unique formations, which is visible throughout the site. For those occupying the building, the juxtaposition between the taphoni forms and Vertex’s vision complete a story that opens the door for conversation and discovery around the science developing within the company.
A focus for the designers was to connect the exterior with the interior spaces. In addition to utilizing natural elements as inspiration, careful selection of plant material was considered to recreate the Torrey Pines habitat in a way that felt safe, comfortable, and provides a sense of calm and relaxation. Large spaces were designed for company-wide events, medium-sized spaces for smaller groups, and many small intimate spaces for guests to sit, dream, read or contemplate their day.