NEW ENGLAND BIOLABS INC.
Laboratory Design Competition
Davis Buckley Architects and Planners (DBA) developed a design scheme for the New England Biolabs Inc., located in the rolling countryside of Massachusetts.
The approach along the curved drive would reveal the site’s characteristic hillocks with a historic estate house to the left. The new biological laboratory complex would, at first, appear as a low glass wall, an abstraction of a garden wall. Set within the landscape, the new complex would be the complementary opposite of the house’s neoclassical vocabulary. As a new beginning, it would respect rather than mimic the architecture of the past, heightening the house’s presence in the landscape through a new and complementary form.
In the design, the form of the building follows the rolling topography. Upper and lower entrances lead into an environmentally rich indoor garden space. Here one would enter the laboratories themselves at an elevation of 42. Along a horizontal and vertical circulation spine, moving ramps interconnect the lab floors. These rectilinear floors terrace up along the edge of the site-to the east cradled by the hillside; to the west defining the edge of the drive. Sloping “green roofs” parallel the surrounding landforms. The laboratories’ “V” configuration maximizes each lab floor’s views to the outdoors. Within the “V” a Zen water garden enhances the experience of going from floor to floor along the moving glass enclosed ramp. The ramp system interconnects all floors. Its open, easy movement would foster communication by providing opportunities for staff to meet and interact.
The labs were set back from the exterior wall by perimeter corridors that would give colleagues convenient access to each other’s glass-partitioned offices. Offices were directly adjacent to the labs, with support space beyond. Interconnecting corridors provided convenient access and communication throughout.