New England biolabs
sustainable science
design objective 1
Sustainability, minimalism, function and fun in a naturally terrain-integrated building complex

  • typeEnzyme Biolabs complex
  • year | size2001 | 135,000 SF
  • locationIpswich, Massachusetts
  • statusInternational Competition

project statement
New England Biolabs - harmonious urban | nature relation

The design was inspired by the structure of a bio molecular formula. As concept, it combinines land and historic values with modern design and functionality. The building embraces the curving landscape. The rear part of the complex along with the one story garage are below grade and above the water table, minimizing the building profile and adding to its full integration with the site. This approach also compliments the existing historic buildings. The hip roofs and cornered skylights of the new structure reflect the old ones in a modern, yet discrete way, while the glass tropical garden enclosure with panoramic elevator, northern skylights and integrated sun screen photovoltaic cells acting as active and passive solar devices to the south represent sustainable 21st century building technology. The underground parking garage, stretching under the building perimeter, houses 291 cars and allows for the preservation of a major portion of the existing road at the carriage house along with a large portion of the existing trees on site. This approach minimizes the disruption of the site along with the extended convenience of more indoor parking, conditioned by the construction budget.


project statement (cont)

The function of the building is derived the PAAway - combining ease of use with fun to use. The basic approximately 60' wide lab module is positioned throughout allowing easy circulation along the central corridor. The shipping tract is centrally located in the rear underground portion of the building, next to a shielded and covered loading dock. The new building is connected to the main house via a tunnel from its basement, which reaches common lobby in front of the auditorium. The lecture hall itself is accessible during weekends and after hours as separate functions, along with a café, employee lounge, that could be turned into a conference room with direct visual connection to the tropical winter garden. The indoor garden is the center of the whole composition and the most visible element of the building - with its glass facades it provides a superposition of the tropical and natural landscapes. The whole building, atrium and parking are fully accessible and meet the IBC exiting standards.
The overall appearance, functionality and aesthetically balanced space relations form a unique and fun environment for scientists and visitors with respect to the past and perspective for the new millennium. Ahead of its time for 2001 and still fresh and valuable today.

design objective 2
Connecting all sides of the biolabs production line and integrating existing structures
The NEB design competition entry has retained its cool value quite well for nearly two decades and was pivotal for establishing the minimalist approach of our work and design philosophy.
from the architect