PA Management Consultants Ltd
Princeton, NJ, USA
7 500 m²
PA Technology recommissioned Richard Rogers Partnership to design their American research base, on a new industrial park close to the university town of Princeton. The assisted-span tension structure derived from the similar solutions used at Fleetguard and the INMOS factory and the plan closely resembles that of INMOS, with a central spine/arcade on an A-frame which provides circulation, staff restaurant and other services and is flanked by the working spaces, in this case laboratories and offices.
While INMOS had required a very high degree of servicing, PA Technology Princeton produced a less-demanding servicing requirement – the exposed structure, while entirely functional, is equally symbolic and expressive of the image of the company. (The client had specifically demanded a scheme which reflected PA’s innovative approach.) Ducting and air-conditioning plant is boldly exposed. Services are equally frankly expressed inside the building.
The building was designed for prefabrication off-site and rapid erection. The cladding is carefully considered to provide diffused light through translucent panels, with a strip of clear glass offering views out. In theory, this is a ‘kit-of-parts’ building which could be replicated. In practice, it is a well-crafted custom-made landmark, like the Pompidou Centre or Lloyd’s. RRP’s long line of industrial research building expresses the tension between mass production and expressive individuality which is at the core of the practice’s work.
Like its precedent INMOS, the desire was for internal spaces free of columns with scope for rearrangement and expansion. In addition, the use of translucent cladding provides a remarkable quality of daylight, while at night the building glows gently.