Science Building Rebirth
Bringing new life to an aging building to support future research

SHADOW STUDIES
Our programming staff spent many days shadowing research personnel as they went about their work. We observed time and motion, asked questions, and recorded behavior to better comprehend how to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their workspace.

The day-lit tissue culture rooms support the use of these spaces for long durations of time.

LABORATORY LIGHTING STRATEGY

SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGIES

42%
reduction in water use below code maximum

15%
reduction in lighting power density

100%
of perimeter daylit spaces include daylight sensors

97%
of seated spaces have exterior views

LEED PLATINUM CERTIFIED

Harvard University
Sherman Fairchild Renovation

LOCATION
Cambridge, MA / United States

TOTAL SQUARE FOOTAGE
107,866 GSF

PROGRAM COMPONENTS
Stem Cell, Regenerative Biology, FACS/Flow Cytometry, Histology, Zebrafish, Research Labs

LEED STATUS
LEED-CI 3 Platinum Certified

In need of a home for the newly created Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology Department, Harvard sought to revive the Sherman Fairchild Biochemistry Building. The facility, one of the world’s first biochemistry buildings when completed in 1981, was in desperate need of renovation. Drawing on the original building’s pioneering nature, the university sought to reestablish Sherman Fairchild as emblematic of Harvard’s future in terms of design and sustainability.

Challenge
The laboratory design required a major rethinking to address the Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB) Department’s needs. In addition to increasing the building’s population density by 50%, the renovation necessitated a new laboratory to lab support ratio of 1:2, which would create enormous pressure on existing building systems. In addition, the design had to allow for high energy demanding equipment, centralized cores and services, a variety of group sizes and an emphasis on collaborative spaces to encourage and support interaction.

Solution
The new laboratory design for the Sherman Fairchild Building focuses on a dramatic increase in occupant density while changing the fundamental relationship between bench-based laboratory space and energy demanding equipment laboratory space. Equipment support spaces have traditionally been located within the building’s center in rooms devoid of natural daylight and disconnected from the bench area. The new design for Sherman Fairchild radically alters this relationship by locating a zone of intensely used support spaces (primarily to accommodate tissue culture) along the exterior wall. This design decision allows maximum daylight to penetrate deep into the building’s center. An additional support zone occupies this core area, which alternates between open cross-corridors connecting the width of the building and smaller support rooms that do not benefit from natural light. The open corridors include shared freezer space and shared bench areas.

The spatial arrangement creates an energetic collaborative dynamic for the department and optimizes the building footprint in terms of use and energy efficiency. Within the fixed envelope, all sources and systems are calibrated to minimize use, maximize efficiency and recover waste. The design team renovated Sherman Fairchild in line with aggressive sustainability goals, ultimately creating a LEED Platinum project. On submission, the building achieved 95 of the possible 110 points, garnering the highest LEED-CI points for any research laboratory in the world at that time.

KEY TEAM MEMBERS
James H. Collins, Jr. FAIA, LEED AP
Principal-in-Charge

Jeffrey H. DeGregorio AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager / Architect