LAB OF THE YEAR: SPECIAL
MENTION Building a program,
not just a lab
continued from page 15
the integration of several innovative elements.
Programming: Working with multiple
agencies and stakeholders, the design team
developed common protocols and functional
relationships to create a single intake and accessioning area for all material and processes.
Planning: The development of a forensic science concept parti served as a universally adaptable model to promote inter-group interaction,
maintain strict chain-of-custody integrity, and
deliver high-performance technical space for the
science. The model successfully integrated the
various groups’ program elements into a common
system and fostered collaboration among groups.
Research environments: The nature of forensics
demands specialized high-performance facilities based on the material under investigation.
The design team sought to push the envelope
by delivering more efficient, effective, and integrated research environments to support the
organization’s mission and vision. A ballistics
facility is incorporated into the heart of the facility, enabling forensic teams to collaborate more
fully with others. Enhanced BSL- 3 laboratories are
located on an upper floor on the perimeter, allowing critical but demanding work to be performed
with abundant daylight. Vehicle examination
rooms operate as laminar flow cleanrooms, maintaining integrity of the evidence. All the Medical
Examiner’s autopsy suites have natural light on
the upper floors, bringing this critical work out of
its traditional place in a basement.
Sustainable performance: The project achieved
LEED Gold certification, while also meeting the
stringent safety and reliability requirements of a
first-responder facility. It demonstrates a carefully
conceived and detailed building envelope, innovations in energy management for laboratories, water
conservation, and promotion of occupant wellness.
Portions of the building exterior have operable,
fritted glass louvers to reduce solar gain and 92%
of work areas have exterior views. The project has
become an innovative sustainable design tool for
the District of Columbia Department of General
Services, with the experiences and successes of the
Consolidated Forensic Laboratory being used to
create training programs and guidelines for future
projects across the entire city.
Project Management: The team implemented
key philosophies and specific tools to facilitate
successful project management. An integrated
team approach to design laid the groundwork for a highly collaborative and successful
dynamic during construction. The underlying
Departmental stacking was a successful effort which kept agencies within their own floor areas. This simplified
security and kept cohesive units together. (Section: HOK)
The facility needed to mitigate vibration and acoustical issues caused by continuous in-house explosions from
ballistics research areas housed in the middle of the facility. (Photo: HOK)