Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
New Research and Education Campus
East Boothbay, Maine
Square Footage: 65,000
Laboratory of the Year, Honorable Mention, 2014
Sustainable Design Award, 2013
Honor Award for Design Excellence, 2013
Boston Society of Architects
Build New England Grand Honor Award, 2013
Associated General Contractors
Perkins+Will, in partnership with WBRC Engineers and Architects of Bangor Maine, was selected to plan and design a new Ocean Science and Education Campus for the 65,000 square foot (6,040 square meter) Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences on 64 acres (2,787,840 square meters) overlooking the Damariscotta River Estuary in East Boothbay, Maine. Bigelow Laboratory’s research mission is to understand the key processes that are driving evolution and change in the world’s ocean ecosystems, including how ocean microorganisms impact and are impacted by climate change and how the ocean and atmosphere interact in ways that influence global warming. The Laboratory’s strategic partnership with Colby College engages undergraduates in this exciting and important research.
The buildings are set into the hill and forest in a way that maintains a continuous visual connection into the dramatic natural setting. The forms and materials recall both the local built landscape of docks and piers, as well as the image of a dramatic, world-class research facility. The envelope utilizes a rain-screen approach to create a high-performance and durable skin that will patina and soften over time and blend with its environment. The selection of environmentally sensitive materials, careful harvesting of daylight, and the integration of building mechanical systems help to achieve a facility that is operationally efficient, respects the environmental impact of its construction, and provides an inspiring sense of place for its researchers.
Each of the three ‘laboratory wings’ houses scientists and laboratories that are specific to one or more areas of research. Both the laboratories and utility infrastructure are designed to be flexible. The arrangement of the offices, the meeting spaces, and the special ‘collaboration porches’ overlooking the ocean are all designed to promote interaction and enhance interdisciplinary collaborations. The laboratory wings connect to a shared ‘Commons’ that joins them physically, provides casual meeting space, and strengthens ‘connectivity’ among all researchers.