National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center

Department of Homeland Security

Ft. Detrick, Maryland

Project Info
National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
Ft. Detrick, Maryland
Completion Date: 2008
Square Footage: 160,000

Mega Project Excellence in Construction Award, 2009
Associated Building and Contractors, Metro Washington and Virginia Chapters

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) facility provides the nation with a biocontainment laboratory space for biological threat characterization and bioforensic research. The programs conducted at NBACC provide knowledge of infectious properties of biological agents, effectiveness of countermeasures, decontamination procedures, and forensics analyses to support policy makers and responders’ development of policies, programs, and technologies. The NBACC Facility is comprised of two centers: The Biological Threat Characterization Center (BTCC) for conducting research to better understand current and future biological threats as well as the National Bioforensic Analysis Center (NBFAC), the lead Federal agency for conducting Bioforensic analysis of evidence from investigations of biocrime or terrorism.

This 160,000 square foot laboratory building has the distinction of being the first security compartmented information facility (SCIF) biocontainment facility in the United States, providing a unique environment for working with select agents under classified and law enforcement sensitive conditions. NBACC features BioSafety Level 2, 3 and 4 laboratory facilities. About 40,000 square feet (3,720 square meters) will be taken up by BSL-3 labs, which handle agents such as anthrax. In addition, 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) will be dedicated to the BSL-4 labs, which handle agents such as the Ebola virus.

The entry vestibule includes a sculptural portal that allows secured entry into the multi-story atrium space and permits views to all office floors and controlled access to the building core. A glass circulation arc unites various research areas stretching along the curving perimeter of the building and concludes at individual public spaces and an enhanced daylit stairway. The exterior design is striking in its elegant shape and shimmering glass appearance, highlighted by the constant movement of building occupantsWhile the laboratories are highly complex, the design provides an environment that attracts and retains the "best and brightest" researchers by providing numerous collaboration spaces, large windows that bring light into the labs and provide scientists a view of the outdoors as well as interstitial space to relinquish typical storage problems.