HDR: Alexandria Center for Life Sciences West Tower Laboratory and Vivarium Fit-Out

Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; plumbing, piping; laboratory; and building addition


Laboratory Corridor. Source: HDR Inc.Engineering firm: HDR

2018 MEP Giants rank: 7

Project: Alexandria Center for Life Sciences West Tower Laboratory and Vivarium Fit-Out

Location: New York, NY, United States

Building type: Research facility/laboratory

Project type: Addition to existing building

Engineering services: Automation, controls; electrical, power; energy, sustainability; fire, life safety; HVAC, mechanical; lighting; and plumbing, piping

Project timeline: January 2014 to January 2017



NYU Langone Medical Center expanded its off-campus research enterprise to enable the recruitment and relocation of scientists, and replacement of facilities lost during Super Storm Sandy. The new facilities comprise roughly 100,000 sq ftof leased space on the 2ndthrough 5thfloors of the 17-story West Tower at the Alexandria Center for Life Science.

The vivarium includes a barrier-free rodent facility and large-animal facility andsupports research in molecular pathogenesis (ABSL-3 facilities),cell biology (germ-free lab),and genomics (automation lab). The vivarium also includes a central glass wash and autoclave.

The design was based on a prototypical plan for each floor-containing labs, support offices, and core facilities-to create consistency across all researchfloors. A section of the office suite mechanical system was designed to allow the lab to expand by one structural bay on each side to accommodate future expansion.

The vivarium and ABSL-3 lab space were funded by NIH and therefore the design complied withthe NIH Design Requirements Manual.The requirements for redundancy, no reversal of airflow across the containment barrier of the ASBL-3, containment certifications, and serviceability created some challenges to the engineering design given the constraints of the core and shell systems since they were not originally designed in anticipation of an NIH funded fit-out.

Interstitial Space. Source: HDR Inc.Solutions

To address the redundancy requirements and serviceability, the base-building systems were augmented with additional HVAC and exhaustequipment to serve the fit-out spaces.The standby power system and associated fuel oil system was fully integrated into the base building system to accommodate the additional capacity.The low voltage systems were seamlessly connected together to ensure the proper visibility and security required by both the landlord and NIH.

The fit-out floors had an aggressive FTF height, but the design team felt it was prudent to create an interstitial level to house redundant air handling units and avoid detracting from usable floor space, available for the program.An interstitial level with a floor-to-floor of 17ft presented a lot of coordination challenges with the space below and accessibility to equipment.To ensure the design could be built and meet the tenant, landlord and NIH requirements, the design team worked closely with vendors, the contractor, and the clients during early design phases to ensure the best possible solution was provided. The end result was a fully certified and NIH compliant ABSL-3 suite and vivarium.

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