Zeneca completed the move into the first two of its four new
office buildings on Dec. 7. It took three months to
relocate some 1,200 employees to the Brandywine Hundred site
from Wayne, Pa., and leased space in the Wilmington area.
Another 1,000 or so are expected to be accommodated when the
other two structures which make up the first phase of the
company's planned expansion are finished soon after the turn of
The investment so
far, according to Arnie Caine, vice president of facilities,
engineering and corporate services, is in the neighborhood of
The company still
expects to complete the expansion, which involves erecting three
more buildings by 2007. But, he said, no decision has yet been
made on when to proceed with the second phase.
While the scope of
the pharmaceutical company's building project has been obvious
for more than a
year to motorists
passing through the site along Powder Mill Road, the
outward appearance of structures barely hints at the
extent of both architectural and technological innovation
to be found inside them.
"We intended for
everything to be high-tech while, at the same time, preserving a
sense of openness in an inviting atmosphere," Caine said.
The two buildings on what the
company calls its north campus -- north of the road --
have been named Alapocas and Brandywine. Those on the
south campus are to be Chesapeake and Delaware. The
Alapocas lobby serves as the main and visitor entrance to
the entire complex.
The names were set after
employees were polled electronically as to their
As is the situation throughout
corporate America, and elsewhere, security is tight but
not oppressive. As a card reader activates a revolving
door permitting entry into the
entrance lobby conveys a feeling of spaciousness. For
perspective, note the man going up the staircase behind
the partial wall.
interior of the building, a
visitor is tempted to react by saying something like,
'Beam me up, Scotty'.
Inside there is little to be
found which suggests what might be considered the feel of
a traditional office building.
From electronic bulletin
boards to wiring which makes it possible to connect laptop
computers to the company's internal
network from literally every place in the buildings, the layout
is structured to provide a state-of-the-art, although
comfortable work environment
Caine said that the older buildings
in the Astra Zeneca complex will be refurbished, but with an
acceptance of the reality that they cannot be made to match the
While there is an understandable
emphasis on the newness, he said that already is beginning to
give way to an appreciation of functionality. "We've got quite a
bit of positive feedback, both from our own people and others,"
On following pages of this article,
Delaforum provides the public with the first opportunity to take
a photo tour of the new buildings.
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