EXPERT TALKS | Sustainability in R&D, Industry and Workplaces

When entrusted with designing industrial and R&D facilities, well-designed architecture and engineering plans are paramount for ensuring the project’s long-term sustainability. In our recent Expert Talk, VIRTUARCH and TECHNICONSULT explored the latest trends in Sustainability within R&D, Industry, and Workspaces.


Addressing sustainability is a worldwide challenge and it is essential to tailor our efforts to the unique characteristics of each project. In Thailand, sustainable architecture is gaining momentum as the country strives to address environmental concerns while embracing modern development. What are the trends in sustainable architectural design in Thailand?


In Thailand, we have successfully managed numerous industrial renovation projects, with at least three achieving LEED or equivalent certifications. Among these, the TGN factory posed a unique challenge given the building size and tropical climate. Prioritizing outdoor shading and considering facade orientation were key focuses for this project. We aimed to design a facade system balancing the need for natural light in the office area while controlling sunlight and heat penetration. To address this issue, we integrated louvers into the design, effectively managing sunlight exposure. 

TGN factory with a facade system controlling sunlight and heat, realized by VIRTUARCH


In Switzerland, sustainable architecture leads the way in energy-saving approaches and environmental awareness. What are the current energy-saving trends in Switzerland from an architectural perspective?


In evaluating building footprints, consideration is typically given to both embodied and operational energy. In Switzerland, operational energy is well-regulated, often with established performance standards, guiding architects toward high-quality and energy-efficient building shells. Consequently, when tasked with office renovations—whether for labs, factories, or standalone offices—our emphasis lies more on optimizing embodied energy, reflecting energy consumed during construction. Our approach involves preserving existing structures and reusing materials to conserve resources, while also integrating the company’s heritage into the project narrative. Through meticulous material selection, ranging from carpets to paint, we strive to minimize embodied energy, thereby reducing environmental impact and enhancing indoor space quality and wellness. Flexibility is also paramount in our projects in Switzerland, particularly in open-plan office layouts, where we optimize space to meet functional needs across departments and anticipate future expansion. 

A notable example is the Innovation Center Rapperswil, a multifaceted business hub equipped with diverse working areas, including co-working spaces, meeting rooms, a small hospitality area, and an outdoor terrace. The building preserves the original cubic structure while aligning with carbon-neutral objectives. It achieves this through connectivity to the district heating system, incorporation of free cooling solutions, and utilization of a photovoltaic roof for sustainable energy generation.

The Innovation Center Rapperswil realized by VIRTUARCH


In the previous article, we have extensively discussed about the significant role engineering plays in achieving energy savings. What other key aspects in the life sciences sector are crucial for further reducing the carbon footprint?


In the life sciences sector, particularly in pharmaceuticals and research laboratories, sustainability initiatives extend beyond saving energy measures. Efficient water management is equally crucial, although facing various challenges due to strict regulations. This encompasses ensuring access to clean water, reducing water usage during equipment washing and addressing energy consumption in distilled water production.  

Sustainability remains a significant challenge in this sector due to the stringent regulations ensuring high quality and safety standards, particularly within clean rooms and classified areas. Nevertheless, professional engineering offer numerous solutions to enhance sustainability. For example, replacing boilers with heat pumps provides a sustainable alternative for hot water production (energy efficiency and decarbonization).

Biotech manufacturing facility in Italy realized by TECHNICONSULT


Addressing sustainability is a universal challenge for individuals and organizations alike. In the renovation of industrial projects, the collaboration between engineering and architecture is pivotal in ensuring enduring sustainability amid evolving demands and climate concerns. By integrating innovative technologies and creating adaptable spaces capable of meeting evolving needs, we ensure the longevity of buildings, thereby decreasing their carbon footprint in the long run.



VIRTUARCH is an architecture and project management company with offices in Switzerland, China and Thailand, specialized in workplaces (Industrial Buildings, R&D Facilities, Offices and Headquarter Buildings), as well as in the field of education (Kindergartens, Schools, Universities, Vocational Training Centers, Adult Education). VIRTUARCH has successfully realized more than 500 projects in Europe and Asia for Multinational Corporations and Small and Medium-Sized Companies, often being Market Leaders and Hidden Champions in their fields.


Techniconsult Group is a Consultancy, Engineering company capable of supporting customers throughout the entire project life cycle. Techniconsult Group offers a comprehensive range of services for the Life Sciences industry. From initial consulting and design to procurement assistance, site management, construction, start-up, commissioning, qualification, and maintenance.




VIRTUARCH is an international award-winning design and project management firm originating from Switzerland and with offices in Europe, China and Southeast Asia. With over 20 years of experience, we have successfully delivered more than 500 architectural and project management projects in China and across Asia.
If you are planning to build a new building, fit-out an office or would like to renovate your workspace environment, please feel free to book a call with us at
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