Moscow is tapping into its entrepreneurial DNA with the opening of Skolkovo Technopark, the country’s largest innovation incubator. Designed to hothouse a home-grown tech-driven economy, the hub offers labs and flexible office space where businesses and academia can conduct research and test out innovative, marketable ideas.
Working with architects Valode & Pistre, Arup provided multi-disciplinary design and engineering services for the premises, which include five different research clusters: biomedical science, nuclear science, energy efficiency, IT and space technology. Designed to catalyse innovation, facilities at Technopark include dry and wet labs, office and co-working spaces, showrooms as well as event spaces.
Putting users at the heart of the design, our engineers and specialist consultants delivered a flexible research space that encourages cross-collaboration, and could prove key in the development of materials science, molecular diagnosis or electromagnetic testing. Working with several partners, all facilities have been designed to be adaptable to future changes in research methods, techniques, equipment and processes; ultimately enabling applied research and commercialisation.
Structural engineering solutions: load-bearing for speciality research labs
Skolkovo Technopark defined five areas of scientific focus: biomedical science, information technology, nuclear science, energy efficiency and space technology. The building includes four shared facilities, known as Common Use Centers (CUCs), providing essential scientific support and resources for all lab-using tenants and covering Metrology, Prototyping, Biomed and Testing and Certification.
To deliver the required load-bearing capacity, Arup designed an above-ground superstructure comprising a reinforced concrete frame and floor slabs with pre-stressed downstand beams. This solution provides the required structural vibration performance and load-bearing capacity for the four CUCs, while ensuring a minimum structural depth and a more efficient floor-to-floor height. In addition, this approach brought benefits in terms of the building’s cost and safety, with reduced construction timelines and minimal unstressed reinforcement needed.
Designing a modular, plug-and-play service infrastructure allows space to be reconfigured with ease, so it can accommodate different types of research with different technical requirements. This focus on flexibility is designed to foster collaboration among Technopark’s residents, which include a mixture of researchers, startups and partner companies.
Health, safety and user well-being at the heart
User wellbeing was another driver in the design process, to meet stringent health and safety criteria throughout the labs and other facilities. Arup’s building services, façades, vertical transport and acoustics consultants ensured that air quality, humidity levels and water supply were optimal throughout. Chemical and medical testing facilities were fitted with special piping and exhaust fume hoods to contain any risk of exposure. Bright open-plan offices, conference rooms and meeting areas are all fitted with robust IT infrastructure as well as modern climate systems.
Designing an innovative, dynamic workplace to retain a talented workforce also takes into account modern amenities and leisure facilities, including a restaurant, coffee shops, library and retail space. Skolkovo Technopark complies with LEED Silver certification requirements, certifying it as a healthy and energy-efficient green building.