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Illumina's New i3 Campus Opens, Providing Room For Expansion

Illumina's new i3 campus in the University Towne Center submarket leverages technology and open floor plans to create an environment where employees can work wherever they are most comfortable and inspired, and gives the company room to grow.

Illumina's new i3 campus

Illumina's i3, which opened Aug. 21, consists of three trapezoidal, all-white glass-and-concrete buildings configured to create a triangular 33K SF outdoor courtyard at the center with a performance stage, bocce ball court, herb garden, restaurant, café and fitness area.

Just off Interstate 805, the office campus has an energy-efficient and sustainable design, which includes a green roof on all three buildings, 200 kilowatt fuel cells and operable windows interlocked with the HVAC system to provide natural ventilation in some areas, reducing mechanical ventilation and saving energy.

Illumina, a DNA genome sequencing provider, invented the HiSequ sequencing machine that brought the cost of sequencing a single individual’s complete DNA down from $3B in 2003 to just $1K today, and earlier this year introduced the NovaSeq, which processes human genomes in batches, reducing the time to process a complete individual genome to about an hour each.

Illumina Director of Global Facilities Operations Leizl Jones with her husband, Tracy, and sons, Kaleb and Caden

The company’s business model provides a full range of genome services, including manufacturing and selling sequencing equipment, reagents and other consumables to healthcare and research facilities worldwide, as well as on-site genome sequencing and genome analytics, translating genome data into usable information to help providers develop treatment customized to patients and predict outcomes for individuals and across large patient populations.

Designed by the architecture firm of Perkins+Will, i3 stands for “iconic, innovative and inspired.” Building the structures out of concrete rather than steel eliminated the need to centrally locate elevators, restrooms and core facilities to provide a more flexible, open, collaborative space than otherwise would be possible. Additionally, underground parking provided unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains.

Illumina Director of Global Facilities Operations Leizl Jones said the campus reflects the company's "work anywhere" culture. It is Illumina's first 100% wireless environment and open floor plan with ergonomic workspaces that allows employees to work and collaborate with their peers indoors or outdoors.

Illumina's i3 campus

The campus houses 220 employees, and another 400 employees from various office functions will relocate here from the headquarters off Nobel Drive, but the new campus has a capacity for about twice that many occupants.

“Our technology enhances the collaborative environment,” Jones said.

The campus is equipped with conference rooms of various sizes and styles, some with video teleconferencing systems. Compatible technology is being installed at Illumina facilities around the world to allow San Diego employees to collaborate with employees at other Illumina facilities.

Illumina has over 6,000 employees globally, with about 3,000 in San Diego. The company has facilities in San Francisco, Hayward, Santa Clara and Redwood City, California, and Madison, Wisconsin, as well as internationally in Australia, China, Japan, Brazil, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Victoria, B.C., in Canada. Depending on the location, facilities are engaged in manufacturing, research and development, office and distribution.

The i3 campus buildings are configured in a triangle, creating a 33K SF courtyard with amenities.

The company has contracted with BioMed Realty Trust for construction of a 360K SF R&D campus in the Bay Area and a 155K SF facility in Cambridge, UK, according to Jones.

Designed to LEED Platinum Core and LEED Silver for Interiors standards, buildings on the 316K SF i3 campus feature wall-to-ceiling glass that infuses the interior with natural light. Building systems reduce energy use by 56% and water use by 36%. Jones said the buildings have a 200 kW Bloom Energy Fuel Cell, a “little power plant-in-the-box” invented by Silicon Valley startup Bloom Energy.

This market on Illumina's i3 campus includes the Salt + Air restaurant.

“We have a great set of amenities,” Jones said.

Those include a restaurant called Salt + Air, a coffee bar, a gym and a shuttle service between i3 and Illumina’s headquarters and the Westfield UTC mall during lunch hours. Additionally, the campus provides a new meeting center for Illumina with reception space and several large classroom-style meeting rooms that open up to create a large meeting space adjacent to an outdoor patio and courtyard.

This space will primarily be used to support large Illumina meetings, but can also be used for events by outside organizations that are approved and sponsored through an Illumina employee. She said the local chapter of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering and CoreNet, a global organization for corporate real estate professionals, held events here recently.

Hear more from Jones, and other life science and healthcare professionals, Sept. 12 at Bisnow’s San Diego Healthcare & Life Science Summit.