Shanghai Pharma Research and Development Campus

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals R&D exterior rendering

Shanghai Pharma Research and Development Campus

Context, Form and Site Design Reinforce R&D Collaboration

Shanghai Pharma's new biopharmaceutical industry park will focus on cutting-edge sectors such as gene and cell therapy and research efforts on therapeutic antibodies. It will feature both incubation and industrialization platforms to help startups commercialize lab research projects by collaborating with other players in the industry.

Located in an industrial area, the massive R&D site is bound by four major roadways, creating a “super-block” that promotes collaboration and research excellence. Our design team developed a concept that respects the super-block, with the various research buildings on the edges of the streets forming a “solid” mass that is then “eroded” in the center, as if by water. With the buildings defining the mass, the central organic form creates a garden on the interior, with the “people” spaces overlooking it. “Science” spaces, the laboratories and other technical spaces, are appropriately housed along the perimeter in linear bars clad in solid material; while workplace and collaboration areas are located along the interior, clad in glass, to provide daylight inside and views into the garden.

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals R&D sketches

Researchers are connected by the light and the garden along the interior, and by shared destinations on the ground level including gyms, pools, cafes, cafeterias and conference facilities. With formal and informal meeting areas, as well as circulation paths along the interior edges, the design naturally draws researchers out of the labs to interact with others from different groups. In the garden, a large in-ground auditorium becomes part of the natural landscape flanked by two courtyards which act as breakout space and bring light into the below-grade parking structure. With parking located below, as well as other “behind the scenes” services and support spaces, the central zone offers a prominent, car-free restorative connection to nature and people.

A single building breaks the pattern: the headquarters building located along the eastern edge of the site is pulled away from the road. The curved form creates a graceful entrance, while articulating the building’s significance. Like the other buildings, it houses public functions on the ground floor, but unlike the other buildings, it contains administrative and executive offices in a tower above.

Shanghai Pharmaceuticals R&D exterior rendering
Shanghai Pharma


3.2M sf (300,000 m²)


Special Mention (2021)
Unbuilt Institutional, A+Awards
Merit Award (2020)
American Institute of Architects New Jersey