Vaccine Manufacturing Facility

Client: Government of Canada

Location: Montreal, QC

Year of construction: 2021

Photos : Pierre Seager and MECART

As part of Canada’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DFS teamed with over 90 specialized biomanufacturing experts to design and construct a new vaccine manufacturing facility in Montreal in as little time as possible. The construction of such a project would take on average, 30 to 36 months. This building was completed in record time, less than 10 months after breaking ground.

DFS’s involvement extended from functional programming to take over procedures. At project start up, no COVID-19 vaccine had been developed, complicating the design process. Simplicity and flexibility were the guiding principles for the architectural design, allowing the program to continue to adapt to unknowns, including developments in the vaccine formulation well after construction had begun. The building massing organized the basic functions in three blocks, allowing flexibility within each and for construction to proceed for each in priority. The first, clad in white metal panels, consolidated the sterile manufacturing zones, another, clad in dark-grey metal panels houses supporting functions and lastly, a glass-walled mass contains the office functions.

Client: Government of Canada

Location: Montreal, QC

Year of construction: 2021

Photos : Pierre Seager and MECART

As part of Canada’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DFS teamed with over 90 specialized biomanufacturing experts to design and construct a new vaccine manufacturing facility in Montreal in as little time as possible. The construction of such a project would take on average, 30 to 36 months. This building was completed in record time, less than 10 months after breaking ground.

DFS’s involvement extended from functional programming to take over procedures. At project start up, no COVID-19 vaccine had been developed, complicating the design process. Simplicity and flexibility were the guiding principles for the architectural design, allowing the program to continue to adapt to unknowns, including developments in the vaccine formulation well after construction had begun. The building massing organized the basic functions in three blocks, allowing flexibility within each and for construction to proceed for each in priority. The first, clad in white metal panels, consolidated the sterile manufacturing zones, another, clad in dark-grey metal panels houses supporting functions and lastly, a glass-walled mass contains the office functions.

The pandemic required a large portion of the consulting work to be done remotely. Digital software and virtual platforms were instrumental in facilitating team communication, coordinating and leveraging design data for use by the construction trades, improving workflows, promoting collaboration and allowing each group to leverage their specific expertise. In total 16 BIM (Building Information Modelling) models were created by the professionals and sub-trades including four architectural models.

Prefabricated, modular and local materials were favoured to allow for an increased speed of construction and to minimize delivery delays and supply chain disruption that were common during the pandemic. This presented an additional challenge to the design team as the palette of materials were limited and curtainwalls, prefinished insulated exterior wall panels, prefabricated mechanical systems and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) compliant modular cleanrooms were chosen to meet these requirements.

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