Roche Diagnostics Training Center / SOM


Aiming to provide a new gateway and identity, the two-story, 87,135-square-feet Roche Diagnostics Training Center re-imagines their Indianapolis campus. Designed by SOM, the project just broke ground as it begins to establish a new and consistent brand identity for the Swiss-based pharmaceutical company. The new building’s clean, modern aesthetic embodies Roche’s corporate architectural philosophy and is informed by a 100 year legacy of European design precedents. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Careful attention to sustainable features and principles is informed by Roche’s extensive European experience. Ample daylighting is provided through a combination of north-facing skylights and extensive exterior glazing which is protected from thermal gain by adjustable, exterior mechanical shading devices—a technique common throughout Switzerland and familiar to Roche, but one which remains relatively rare in the United States. Other advanced environmental features that provide occupant comfort and energy efficiency include chilled beams, radiant panels, and raised floors for mechanical and electrical distribution on both floors.


The building is divided into three distinct zones: (1) the first is a showroom and marketing center, (2) the second is an operational training area for Roche’s sophisticated diagnostic tools, and (3) the third is a repair training workshop for the same devices. Each zone is organized around double-height, skylit spaces that provide ample daylighting to all building areas while establishing individual identities for each function. Access to natural daylight and a visual connection with the outdoor environment occurs even at the very center of the building. The first floor of the training zones provides “hands on” access to equipment that can be readily replaced and serviced through a combination of large doors and raised flooring for reconfiguring power, water, gas and other essential services to the advanced technical devices as they are rotated and reconfigured over time.


Typical training sessions alternate between the large first floor “super-lab” space and the vertically adjacent second floor seminar rooms—closely connected to one another by a pair of open stairs that provide immediate access for building visitors. The seminar rooms are the optimal shape and size for group learning functions. From the carefully organized non-orthogonal seating to the optimized distance between users and display screens, these rooms will provide comfortable, usable environments for presentations and other training sessions while also providing ample daylight and visual connections both inside and outside the building.


A second floor office area at the south end of the building will provide technologically sophisticated, flexible accommodations for Roche employees without fixed seating assignments made possibly by wireless networking and the mobile reality of the modern office. This “hoteling” concept is being used by Roche in other international locations, but this marks their first, purpose-built application of this concept in a new building within the United States.

The building’s inherently open nature extends down to the level of its carefully detailed steel structure, which is exposed to view throughout. Interior structural columns of 5-1/2-inch square extruded bar stock steel give a sense of rhythm and meter to the elongated open spaces. Their small size emphasizes the verticality of the tall spaces within.

A strong believer in the symbolic importance of art in the workplace, Roche will bring to Indianapolis a sense of how important these deep cultural roots are for the company. The double height wall in the reception area will incorporate an original, commissioned work by a local artist to greet visitors and campus staff upon entry to the building. SOM’s extensive graphics program includes a narrative history wall along one side of the superlab at the building’s public face which presents the company’s ongoing legacy and contributions to pharmaceutical and diagnostic science and commerce.

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Cite: Alison Furuto. "Roche Diagnostics Training Center / SOM" 01 Feb 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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