Award recognizes outstanding achievements in the design/build of laboratory facilities
PORT ST. LUCIE, FLORIDA – The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) has been named the 2013 TurnKey Awards Facility of the Year. Presented by ALN Magazine and ALN World at the annual TurnKey Conference in Baltimore, the award recognizes outstanding achievements and new ideas in the design, construction, renovation and operation of new or renovated animal laboratories.
HOK designed the VGTI Florida as part of a design/build effort with Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. The institute, which is dedicated to the study of the human immune system, conducts research for the development of vaccines and immunotherapies to improve human health worldwide. Research focuses specifically on the treatment and prevention of AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and diseases associated with emerging viral infections.
“The robust design of the building maximizes our research capabilities and is also important because of the way we are organized scientifically,” said Jay Nelson, CEO of VGTI Florida.
The team designed the four-story, 100,000-square-foot facility to encourage creativity and collaboration. The design provides a healthy environment through visual connections and daylighting while encouraging users to visit outdoor areas. The building also contains areas for study and formal and informal gatherings.
VGTI Florida’s commitment to providing a healthy environment for its scientists and staff inspired several sustainable design strategies. The building earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The laboratories respond to current and future space, environmental control, support services, function, security, energy and water conservation needs. The animal and biocontainment facilities are co-located to maximize building system efficiencies, improve staff utilization and create opportunities for integrated research through shared resources. The nine modular research laboratory groups are organized in “neighborhoods” around shared amenities and support laboratories to encourage scientific interaction and the sharing of specialty equipment and knowledge.
“VGTI Florida challenged HOK to create a laboratory environment that would exceed the typical standards of a biocontainment laboratory within a work environment that promotes creativity and collaboration,” said Tom Thomas, AIA, project director for HOK’s Florida practice. “Our design unites these elements in a way that gives VGTI Florida flexible space that accommodates growth and changes in research.”
HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Through a network of 24 offices worldwide, HOK provides design excellence and innovation to create places that enrich people’s lives and help clients succeed. In 2012, for the third consecutive year, DesignIntelligence ranked HOK as the #1 role model for sustainable and high-performance design.
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