Davis Brody Bond Architects
Completed in 2010 in Irapuato, a city in the south-central region of Mexico's Guanajuato state, Procter & Gamble's (P&G) Planta Milenio illustrates the potential gains of rethinking the architecture of today's factories. While the design, by architects Davis Brody Bond with engineering designer and project manager Arup, is rooted in the company's industrial process, it balances utilitarian goals with those that have emerged in the global economy—environmental sustainability, worker retention, and productivity.
“They wanted as much flexibility as possible,” says Davis Brody Bond partner Christopher K. Grabé. The design team held workshops with P&G employees to understand the manufacturing process. “The idea was to come up with scenarios in which they could move equipment to make the factory more efficient, productive, and ergonomic,” says Grabé.
The team convinced the client that equipment should hang from the ceiling on tracks, while pipes for plastics (the factory makes razors) would run through a walkable underground tunnel, penetrating the floor beneath molding machines. The flexible infrastructure enables reconfiguration, permitting adjustments for future technologies and strategies.
The design also applies moves that until now have been more common in office towers than on factory floors. The architects focused on the issue of daylight, mitigating the harsh Mexican sun with a sawtooth shed roof and skylight system that controls heat gain and withstands the region's torrential rainfalls. Combined with energy-efficient lighting, the strategy gives P&G an average annual savings of $450,000, more than 7 percent of its energy budget. Added to savings from a 100 percent water-reuse plan and other efficient active systems, that number comes to well over $1 million.
Amenities such as a cafeteria, a gym, and athletic fields create collaborative areas where engineers and machine operators can share ideas. Meetings can overlook the production floor for a sense of cohesion in the manufacturing process. “Having a comfortable flow is important,” says Grabé. In a 1.13 million-square-foot facility, a design that fosters direct communication between production, management, and testing labs ultimately saves time and money. The plant is the first of its kind for P&G in Latin America. Given the significant savings, it won't be the last.
Architect: Davis Brody Bond Architects and Planners
Size: 1.13 million square feet
Cost: $100 million
Completion date: 2010
Formal name of building:
Gross square footage:
Total construction cost:
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Local Design Manager from Sagmac: Juan Sandoval
CAD system, project management, or other software used:
Metal doors: Guillermo Barragan
Sliding doors: Guillermo Barragan
Fire-control doors, security grilles: Guillermo Barragan
Closers: Guillermo Barragan
Exit devices: Guillermo Barragan
Pulls: Guillermo Barragan
Suspension grid: Nubia Corona
Wall coverings: Nubia Corona
Floor and wall tile: Garo
Fixed seating: by PG
Downlights: Amelia Arredondo
Task lighting: Amelia Arredondo
Exterior: Amelia Arredondo
Dimming System or other lighting controls: Schneider Electric Legrand
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
Solar tracking skylight system: By PG.