Laboratory design receives seventh award

05-13-2014

WBRC Architects o Engineers, in association with Perkins+Will, was recognized for architectural excellence on Monday, May 12, at AIA Maine's 2014 Design Awards ceremony in Lewiston, receiving a Merit Award for its work at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. Maine-based WBRC Architects o Engineers received the award on behalf of the entire project team, which included Boston design architect Perkins+Will, contractor Consigli Construction, and owner Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences is a 60,000 SF, LEED Platinum science and education campus on the East Boothbay waterfront. The campus consists of three interconnected science and education buildings, along with a shorefront facility and dock. The $31.8-million Phase 1 campus project was made possible by a combination of state and federal grants, private financing, and private donations.

The Awards' jury noted how clearly the design accommodates the research mandate of the laboratory. "We noted noted how each piece of this project is sculptural and is conceptually connected, while still reading as separate. We appreciated the difficulty of siting a large building like this on a sensitive site. This massive building benefits from being composed in three parts, opening up views toward the sea. The form of the wings, the horizontal strip windows, and the large roof overhangs enhance the dynamism of this building that seems to sail toward the sea, the subject of its occupants' research."

A key feature of the campus is the building's unique daylighting design. The solar orientation of the three research wings, combined with open courtyards between each wing, helps to maximize natural light in the building, creating a comfortable and energy-efficient work environment. Year-round energy recovery and other high-efficiency equipment provide an outstanding 54% energy cost savings over a conventional design.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences campus is the first scientific research laboratory to achieve LEED Platinum status in Maine, and has won several awards in addition to the AIA Maine Merit Award since its completion. These include: 2014 Laboratory of the Year, Honorable Mention, R&D Magazine; Grand Honor Award Winner 2013, Build New England Awards Program, AGC of Massachusetts; and 2013 Sustainable Design Award and 2013 Design Excellence Citation from Boston Society of Architects.

"The design of this facility is a testament to the power of collaboration," says Doug Whitney, president of WBRC. "The project team needed to create spaces tailored to the laboratory's specialized research processes, and it also needed to be an exciting, collaborative space that would attract world-class talent. This facility achieved those goals."

Graham Shimmield, executive director of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, says the facility has exceeded expectations. "The space is highly functional, energy-efficient, and provides for a fantastic integrated work environment with state-of-the-art facilities," Shimmield says. "The design team also took full advantage of the laboratory's location, providing inspiring water views for our ocean researchers."

Biennially, AIA Maine sponsors a juried review of Maine architecture to recognize the important and diverse work of Maine architects. The jurors are nationally recognized peers who, after reviewing and critiquing the entries, select outstanding projects for recognition. The program has provided AIA Maine with the records of approximately 500 juried projects. This archive has become a fundamental record of the evolution of contemporary architecture in Maine.

Complete list, AIA Maine 2014 Design Award winners:

Honor Award Mills House Carol A. Wilson Architect

Honor Award Sauna 1105 WMH ARCHITECTS

Merit Award Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences WBRC Architects o Engineers in association with Perkins+Will

Merit Award Bare Bones Sculpture Studio Scott Simons Architects

Citation Award Downeast Coastal Residence Winkelman Architecture

Citation Award House on a Cove Elliott + Elliott Architecture