An existing 1970’s concrete-framed building was transformed into a state-of-the-art laboratory to serve the Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics.

 
The facility design brings a sense of the outside into the scientific workspaces. A new exterior skin composed of channel glass, metal panels, and perforated metal screens allows natural light to permeate throughout the interior and transforms the rugged building into a modern laboratory facility. This new envelope provides views to the heavily wooded surroundings, which served as a natural inspiration for the design of the interior spaces.  
 

Details

  • Adapted existing concrete structure into research facility
  • Embraced environmental stewardship and conservation values
  • 3,066-square-foot modern laboratory
  • Located within National Zoological Park

Awards

  • 2013 Citation for Excellence in Design, AIA | Maryland
  • 2011 BD+C Platinum Reconstruction Award
  • 2010 Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design, AIA | DC
  • 2010 Award of Merit, AIA | Potomac Valley
© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography© Ron Blunt Photography

Careful Selection of Materials

The materials were selected to reflect the high-tech nature of the work, be durable and maintainable, and contrast with the rough, muscular existing structure. Reuse of the existing structure conserved materials and limited site disruption, and aligned closely with the environmental stewardship and conservation missions championed by the researchers.

“Initially, I was very surprised by how beautiful the building turned out, both inside and out. I thought our lab was going to be dowdy and functional, but it turned out to be an architecturally attractive place."

Robert Fleischer, PhD, Head of the Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics, Smithsonian Institution

"On the exterior, the color palette, glass, channel glass, metal panels, and perforated metal screen entablature completely alter the scale and character of the building. The formerly worn concrete structure is now a richly layered, gauzy, and uplifting pavilion.”  

AIA Maryland Awards Jury

Before - a vacant animal holding facilityAfter  © Ron Blunt Photography