By Carl Sexton
Sr. Process Architect, Associate
IPS-Integrated Project Services, LLC
When American architect Louis Sullivan famously proclaimed that “form should follow function” in 1896, I’m sure he had no idea of how this statement would impact the world of design and architecture forever. Sullivan was referencing his idea that a building should serve a greater purpose. Ultimately that purpose should dictate how the building should be designed. This was a revolutionary idea at the time as traditionally the job of a well-trained architect was to make sure that buildings adhered to the distinct style it was designed to replicate. The function of the building was of less importance as long as it “looked the part.” While traditional classical architects reviled this statement, modern architects embraced it and it would be the rallying cry for modernist design for a generation of young designers and would change the face of architecture and design way into the 20th and 21st century. At this time the industrial revolution was just getting going. Large scale manufacturing was still in its infancy. How could he possibly know that his statements would impact not only residential design and urban development but manufacturing for the next 100 years?
In the current climate of design in today’s biopharmaceutical industry, Louis Sullivan’s statement is more relevant than ever. Our clients are constantly pushing us as designers to execute projects faster, cheaper and as always the quality of the design must improve efficiency. As process architects, we navigate these waters with our zest for problem-solving, our creativity and above all our experience. It’s the experience that sets us apart from scores of talented designers. However, it is our experience with new technologies that needs to drive design forward. In the ever-expanding worldwide marketplace, new technologies and processes are emerging daily. As industry professional, we need to be technology leaders. We need to expand our outlook about tradition design methods and embrace new ideas so that we can push our clients and our designs far into the exciting future of biologics manufacturing ahead. Then and only then can we truly claim that our processes are driving the design and in the truest form adhere to Sullivan’s famous quote.