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NASA Ames - N288

Biological Research



Moffitt Field

Mountain View, CA

The Biosciences Laboratory at the NASA Ames campus will support the President's vision to send humans on long duration space flight missions to Mars. The facility provides a collaborative work environment to multi-disciplinary research teams and engages the campus by putting science, and the mission, on display.

Conceptual Approach

The open character of the labs will allow research to be visible to passers-by, taking a positive and inviting attitude towards its campus setting. The form and design of the building, with an iconic shade canopy and open lab layout, actively engages its context, setting a new benchmark for the evolving needs of the future laboratory workspace.


A collaborative work environment

Program areas of a closed or private nature are arranged to form a spine along the north side of the floorplan. This allows open-plan work areas to face the landscape and public aspect of the site. Meeting and ‘social’ spaces are strategically positioned along the length of the floorplan, facilitating collaboration and creating opportunities for informal engagement with colleagues.


Engagement with the landscape

Moving through the building, along its circulation axis, there is a continuous awareness of the landscape and campus. The open lab areas look out into the landscape and provide direct access at regular intervals, allowing the scientists to use the landscape as an extension of their work environment.


Science on Display

The visibility of the research effort at this facility is one of the main drivers of the design. Legibility of the programmatic elements is achieved by placing the open labareas along the public footpath. The building mass differentiates throughout the length of the plan, articulating the functional space it encloses. A louvered shade canopy and catwalk function as a unifying element, creating a powerful presence along Durand Road.

by Allison G. Williams FAIA (with Laurens Costeris), while Design Director and Vice President with AECOM

Construction Complete 2020.  

Built project photography - Credit AECOM