The aim of the design was to strike the right balance between a creative and unconventional environment, on one hand, and the aseptic requirements of the pharmaceutical industry, on the other. No mere conventional office or lab facility, then, the building reflects the dynamic and diverse groups of professionals interacting daily within its walls. The predominant color used is white, highlighting the pharmaceutical qualities of cleanliness and purity in overlapping layers throughout the building. Giving the scheme an overall coherence, the skin of the building was limited to three main materials: concrete, aluminium and glass. The sleek glazing on the northern-facing exterior is confronted with raw concrete inserts, which gradually become the main material of the outer walls. Directly to the north of the building is the area “Vatnsmýri”—Icelandic for “swamp,” and the light, reflective surface giving way to greater solidity mirrors the emergence of the city outwards from the immediate environment. Due to the fact that Vatnsmýri is an environmentally protected zone, the facility was to be powered by green energy and leave a minimal environmental imprint.
The area surrounding the Vatnsmýri marsh and bird preserve is currently undergoing an extensive transformation and urbanization, having been chosen as the new scientific hub of Iceland capital. The location, just south of the city center and in close proximity to Iceland’s main hospital and two largest universities, fosters important opportunities and possibilities in building a dynamic base of knowledge. Within this vision, the Alvogen building represents the beginning of the development of the new science park of Iceland.
As the building required one basement level, the solution to the potential problem of groundwater seepage was to treat the foundation as an “inverted swimming pool.” Over this rigid foundation rises a mixed structure, with of the outer walls made from reinforced concrete, with steel beams spanned between and precast slab sitting over it.
Art in the building
From the outset, Alvotech has been determined to foster a closer relationship between the scientific, business and cultural sectors. This is symbolized in Alvotech’s Icelandic headquarters, where two of Iceland’s best-known and most internationally acclaimed artists, Erró and Sigurður Guðmundsson, were commissioned to produce works for the public areas.
The production area
The technical concept for the building contained within this stunning shell is the work of M&W Central Europe GmbH, a global leader in the design, engineering and construction of high-tech facilities and can be considered as a prototype for an entirely new industry in Iceland. Their mandate was to create a unique concept for an efficient, flexible, green, state-of-the-art facility, capable of delivering predefined quantities of high-quality biosimilar products. Enclosed within the building’s central core, the facilities had to be flexible, allowing operations to adapt to market demands with minimal changeover time. Process optimization analysis was key to ensuring the creation of an efficient facility that will allow Alvotech to execute its initiatives flawlessly. Suspended walkable ceilings above a mezzanine floor allow for full maintenance of the equipment and cleanrooms, without disrupting operations.