The Pell Laboratory is a highly technical building housing two distinct zones: the headhouse and the biocontainment zone. Not apparent from the Pell Laboratory exterior, some of the most cutting-edge infectious disease research in the world is conducted inside a safe and secure research environment; in this “BSL-3 Enhanced” biocontainment facility scientists study aerosol and insect transmitted diseases such as H5N1 (Avian influenza), Yersinia Pestis (Plague) and Tuberculosis, as well as insect transmitted virii such as West Nile Virus and Francisella Tularensis (Tularamia). Photographers play an important role in the visual communication of our projects. As full-bodied Tyvek suits and respirators are mandatory upon entrance to this biocontainment facility, our photographer, Warren Jagger, was extremely important in visually linking the project and making it available to the outside world.
The BSL-3+ biocontainment environment is sandwiched between two interstitial mechanical floors and is directly visible from the main lobby located along the central spine. Transparency across the central spine from the lobby is captured through a custom-designed fully glazed stainless steel pass-through TRANSsterilizer, which connects the BSL-3+ environment to the natural environment outside. Photography enables us to showcase this unique and, quite fittingly, visible biocontainment facility. The building’s most distinctive feature is its undulating roof form, which provides a dynamic silhouette against the tree-lined horizon. The zinc clad roof form collects the twin bars of concrete block laboratories that straddle a central spine framing dramatic landscape views at each end. A subtle shifting of the two laboratory bars along the spine frames the building’s main entrance. Fenestration is articulated as a series of vertical slices across the laboratory bars to facilitate cross building transparency – beautiful architectural elements artfully portrayed in our photography.