Merck Innovation Center, Darmstadt, Germany

New Innovation Centre

Merck is building a new innovation centre at its global headquarters in Darmstadt as a part of its €1bn ($1.12bn) strategic initiative, ONE Global Headquarters.

The initiative aims to transform Merck's existing operations in Darmstadt into the company's global headquarters. The new innovation centre will help perform research on new products for the future and develop ways to implement co-operative projects.

Ground breaking for the €69m ($77.3m) innovation centre took place in October 2015 and its completion is scheduled towards the end of this year.

Merck's Darmstadt innovation centre details

The new innovation centre is being developed between Merck's existing facilities in Darmstadt. As a precursor to the facility, Merck opened a modular innovation centre in 2015 at a cost of €17m ($19m). This modular centre will provide a base for designing the functions of the new one.

The centre contains work spaces for creation of visionary products and services meant for the future. Some of these include indoor farming and 3D printing of medicines.

The design of the centre also helps test new work environments, technologies, processes, and work cultures, which will promote innovations for the future. Outcomes of the tests will be implemented in the final innovation centre. Following the new centre's completion, the modular centre will be converted into a visitor area.

Merck Innovation Center design and facilities

The building's design is inspired by Origami. An open and transparent design was chosen to symbolise innovation, flexibility, and openness, while promoting communication and creativity.

The new innovation centre will consist of five levels, occupying a total area of 21,950m². The ground level of the building will include the entrance area, a cafeteria, and an auditorium.

The first floor will consist of both open, flexible, and secluded workspaces in various spatial concepts. Secluded workspaces will be available for phone calls and focused work, while informal and flexible spaces with retreat areas and bean bags will be available for brief team meetings. Space for a library that can be used by all employees and additional rooms for collaborating with external partners will also be available.

Floors through two and four will include open and transparent rooms to promote casual and collaborative work environment. A workshop for development of prototypes will be available on the fifth floor. Social space, floor seating cushions and secluded corners for one-on-one interaction will also be available.

All floors of the building will be connected by ramps and stairs. A stage area between the project area on each floor will be available for use as needed.

A three-level employee cafeteria building will adjoin the main building, providing regional and sustainable options for employees. The cafeteria will also serve typical food court style offerings.

The second floor will see Asian, Mediterranean, and vegan cuisine served, while the ground floor level will include a bakery, beverage store, and a promotion store. Seating areas are located along with façade providing excellent views of the outside.

Contractors involved

Designs of the innovation centre were developed by Henn Architekten. Other partners included Bollinger + Grohmann Ingenieure, ZWP Ingenieure, Topotek 1, Müller-BBM, Emmer Pfenninger, and Lumen³.

Ed. Züblin is responsible for the structural work of the employee cafeteria and reinforced concrete construction of the innovation centre.

Details of Merck's ONE Global Headquarters initiative

Merck's ONE Global Headquarters initiative aims to establish Darmstadt as the company's main site by 2020. The innovation centre and the employee cafeteria will form the main part of the initiative.

Merck has already completed the development of a parking garage and two energy stations. Other projects planned to be implemented under the initiative include a pharmaceutical packaging facility, an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) production building, and a pharmaceutical laboratory building.