Harvard Biological Laboratories Building

Harvard University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Project Info
Harvard Biological Laboratories Building
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Harvard Biological Laboratories Building has been a setting for a wide range of research since its construction in 1930. Though science and research have changed considerably since its creation, after 85 years of continued operation, the Biolabs Building still plays a critical role in scientific research at Harvard, supporting an ever evolving range of teaching and research activities for a new generation of scientists.

Since 2008, Perkins+Will has been working with Harvard on a series of phased renewal projects in order to ensure that the building is capable of meeting the current needs of researchers, and ensuring its continued use as a world class research facility. Roughly a quarter of the fully occupied building has been upgraded, with projects primarily focusing on: laboratory renovations for faculty research; classroom and teaching lab modernization; and building infrastructure renewal and modernization. The design strategies incorporated promote interdisciplinary research in open labs, varying scales of collaboration and interaction areas, and accessibility to natural light; all of which foster a vibrant research community.

Over 50 distinct research groups occupy the building. The renewal work has uncovered opportunities to consolidate redundant functions and promote collaborations between scientists. Key areas of focus include a Center for Biological Imaging, centralized glasswash, and consolidated multi-use flexible teaching laboratories.

In an effort to modernize the building infrastructure, a detailed building assessment defined trends and programmatic uses issues and deficiencies, while an HVAC upgrade provided updated distribution. A range of sustainable infrastructure renovations lower operating costs and lighten the overall environmental footprint of the building.

By working within the context of the historic 1930’s era structure, each project deals with the challenges of establishing modern day research in a very insular building, while advancing a core building vision promoting interaction, collaborative research, and overall modernization.

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