AHA Consulting Engineers Inc.: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fan Pier Buildings A & B

New construction of an office building; parking garage/service station; research facility/laboratory


Figure 1: Vertex Pharmaceuticals at Fan Pier in Boston. AHA provided MEP design for both the core and shell and fit-outs for both buildings, and all of the design work was completed in Autodesk Revit. Each building includes 16 stories of lab and office space with parking under both. Specialized design for this high-level project includes vivariums, BSL-2 labs, chemistry labs, MRI spaces, radiology labs, wet labs, and much more. Courtesy: Rendering by TSOI/ Kobus & AssociatesEngineering firm: AHA Consulting Engineers Inc.
2015 MEP Giants rank: 64
Project: Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fan Pier Buildings A & B
Address: Boston, United States
Building type: Office building; Parking garage/service station; Research facility/laboratory
Project type: New construction
Engineering services: Automation, controls; Electrical, power; Fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; Lighting; Energy, sustainability; Plumbing, piping
Project timeline: 8/23/2011 to 6/30/2014
MEP/FP budget: $2,422,500


The project was to design two high-rise towers to accommodate laboratories and office space. The buildings have substantial chemistry use on the lower floors and a full-floor vivarium. Due to the substantial lab usage, design features were needed to minimize energy consumption. Another challenge with the project was that due to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) restrictions and the buildings being within the Logan Airport flight path, the total height of the buildings had to be limited. This restriction affected equipment selections and limited floor-to-floor heights for the office areas on the upper floors.


Our MEP design solutions included:

  • Enhanced distribution of systems through coordinated shafts to allow for system flexibility to accommodate concentrated or light chemistry use on the lower floors
  • Designed backup systems that were cross-connected to the core building systems with matching controls to allow the vivarium area to be maximized and mechanical systems to be minimized
  • Minimized large ductwork distribution, applied effective pipe routing, and incorporated fan-coil units to result in minimum ceiling plenum area
  • Applied variable air volume controls for fume-hood exhaust systems, used sash controls and motion sensors, and applied a tight diversity of use to reduce equipment size, use, and energy
  • Coordinated various architectural features and engineered mechanical penthouse volumes to limit the height of equipment, including lightning-protection rods to result in a facility standing below maximum allowable FAA heights.

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