Illumina Doubles Real Estate Capacity With Innovative Team Space

Illumina extends real estate lifecycle by 2-3 years with inspirational new workplace

Illumina is a life-science company that has been named one of the 50 smartest companies in the world by MIT. In spite of having dozens of leases around the world and a headquarters in San Diego, Illumina could not meet its space needs with annual growth exceeding 20%.

Find out how Illumina doubled building capacity and re-imagined its workplace with ARCHIBUS team space.

The Challenge

Not Enough Space, Straining Workforce

Illumina’s 20% growth rate was outpacing its ability to create space across its global campus. The San Diego Headquarters reached bursting point at 99% occupancy, in spite of attempts at desk sharing, bullpens, temporary off-sites, and more. Overcrowding was disrupting workflow, forcing staff to meet in odd places, and straining Illumina’s productivity.

When growth jumped to 30%, leadership realized that it was time for a change.

“Work Anywhere” Re-imagines Campus

Illumina Replaces One Seat Per Person with Collaborative Team Space

Jenny Durbin, Sr. Manager of Facilities Planning & the Innovative Workplace, and her team conducted a study, discovering that, during a typical day, 32% of workstations were empty due to Illumina’s intense meeting culture and staff moving throughout the campus. Another 27% sat unoccupied due to staff traveling or working remotely.

Jenny boldly planned to increase capacity by replacing assigned seating with shared team spaces. Instead of giving everyone a desk, Jenny would create neighborhoods of shared workspaces that could be used by multiple staff. This would accommodate partially remote staff with less seating.

Capacity would also be increased by introducing compact spaces like work lounges and phone booths, with denser seating for close collaborations. Some neighborhoods would be assigned to teams, while some workstations near common areas would be open to anyone, capturing spillover and freeing up movement throughout the entire campus.

Jenny and her team coined the term “Work Anywhere” to describe her new strategy.

i3 Campus Plan Leverages Space to Support Workflow

A 3 building headquarters extension was designed around Work Anywhere, branded i3 for “Inspiring, Iconic, Innovative.”

i3 would replace one-size-fits-all assigned seating with a variety of open furniture settings — different space types for different types of work. This way, depending on the nature of their work throughout the day, staff could easily move between different space types and form temporary collaborations across the campus. Examples of space types include:

  • Havens: small shelters where focused work can be done without distraction.
  • Jump Spaces: highly approachable work points, facilitating work between activities
  • Clubhouses: work neighborhoods that belong to teams assigned to specific, long-term projects
  • Coves and Landings: compact spaces near dense areas where people can briefly assemble and engage.

ARCHIBUS Team Space Makes Work Anywhere Possible

Illumina depended on ARCHIBUS to track its workforce, forecast needs, gather business intelligence, and centralize leases, floorplans, and HR data. How could Jenny preserve this data integrity while tracking a fluid workforce that moves between shared spaces?

ARCHIBUS Team Space Supports Work Anywhere

ARCHIBUS Team Space, in the Personnel and Occupancy application, enabled Jenny to track a fluid workforce throughout the campus. With Team Space, Jenny could:

  • Define and assign work neighborhoods with interactive visual floorplans
  • Set capacity and density benchmarks
  • Move staff between neighborhoods and locate staff
  • Access reporting on density and capacity by floor, team, building, or site
  • Forecast space needs
  • Maintain data integrity and integration with 44 Leases and 61 floorplans

Team Space enables Illumina to cleanly create neighborhoods for more than 1:1 seating and capacity models. I can create a ratio to increase my density of capacity and assign all team members to that neighborhood. This is core to the success of implementing a Work Anywhere program… Team space also allows me to cleanly view the data and continue to forecast space utilization and projections.

Jenny Durbin, Sr. Manager Facilities Planning & Innovative Workplace


The i3 Campus embodies the first holistic design of Work Anywhere, and opened in July, 2017. Powered by ARCHIBUS, the i3 Campus boasts:

  • 3 Buildings with 312 thousand square feet
  • 1000 – 2000 occupancy
  • LEED Silver certification
  • State of the art amenities

Real Estate Lifecycle Extends 2-3 Years, Capacity More than Doubles

One example of a typical floorplan saw its capacity increase from 136 to 266 people – or 397 if enclosed collaboration spaces are included.

Flexibility Reduces Operational Costs

Reconfiguration at Illumina today does not require typical construction costs. Having invested up front in a workplace that is 47% unassigned, reconfiguring is as easy as redefining spaces in ARCHIBUS.

Business Intelligence Enables Illumina to Forecast Needs

ARCHIBUS provides clean views of occupancy trends alongside lease information and visualizations of future states, enabling Illumina to forecast space needs/capacity.

A Better Place to Work, Think, and Grow

Today, Illumina’s forward thinking ethos is reflected in its workplace, with a campus that facilitates workflow, fosters collaboration, and inspires employees. Illumina’s i3 Campus is now a selling point for recruiting new talent.

Illumina continues to launch Work Anywhere across its global portfolio, as projects and business needs arise.




San Diego, California


Facility Management Planners, Inc.
  • 7,000 employees worldwide, 3,200 based out of San Diego
  • 8 M square feet Global Real Estate portfolio
  • 44 leases in RE Module
  • 61 Floorplans in Space Module
  • i3 Campus Extension: 3 buildings, 312K SF, 1,000 – 2,000 occupancy
  • Space Planning Management
  • Move Management
  • Real Estate Portfolio Management

Illumina was running out of space, with growth outpacing new construction. Facilities were bursting at the seems and interfering with the functionality and appeal of illumina’s facilities.

  • Capacity of headquarters extension doubled
  • Real estate life cycle extended 2 – 3 years
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Business intelligence across global portfolio
  • Competitive edge in recruiting and retaining talent

The ARCHIBUS system is recognized company-wide for its integrity. Without quality data we cannot accurately manage our space.

Jenny Durbin, Sr. Manager Facilities Planning & Innovative Workplace

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