Perkins+Will Designs World-Class Research Campus in Coastal Maine

New LEED® Platinum Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Campus Helps Enable Scientific Vision

Jul 24, 2013, 05:50 ET from Perkins+Will

BOSTON, July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Perkins+Will, Global architectural design firm, has designed a world-class research campus for the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences on a 64-acre property in the small coastal town of East Boothbay, Maine. The design process, led and managed by Perkins+Will's Boston office, resulted in a highly sustainable and uniquely-collaborative work environment, housing talented researchers from around the globe who participate in multi-national expeditions such as the Artic Summer Cloud Ocean Study(ASCOS), the long-running Atlantic Meridional Transect, and the 2.5 year TARA Oceans research cruise.

Bigelow Laboratory's mis­sion is to understand the key processes that are driving evolution and change in the world's ocean ecosystems with a specific focus on how vast populations of microscopic ocean organisms impact and are impacted by climate change. The campus design supports this mission with 61,000 square feet of space in three science and education buildings housing the Walter and Helen Norton Center for Blue Biotechnology, the Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, and the Center for Ocean Health, as well as a shore facility and dock that can accommodate 135-foot research vessels.

Bigelow Laboratory has the distinction of being the first research laboratory to achieve LEED® Platinum in the State of Maine and is one of only seven in New England. The oceanfront campus brings together the latest thinking in flexible and collaborative laboratory design with a striking architectural character that is rooted in sustainability and regenerative design principles.

"Bigelow Laboratory's new campus is a testament to the strong and productive relationships that exist between our researchers and staff, and with a growing diversity of academic, commercial, and scientific organizations," said Bigelow Laboratory Executive Director Dr. Graham Shimmield. "Without those relationships, the creation of this remarkable facility would not have been possible. In particular, we thank the team at Perkins+Will for their vision and hard work."

"Bigelow researchers are unraveling the complex relationships between our oceans and the role they play in the overall health of our planet. All of us on the design team committed ourselves to creating uniquely-effective buildings and spaces that would inspire the scientists, enhance collaborations and help accelerate all aspects of the discovery process," said Gary Shaw, Project Principal with Perkins+Will.

Bigelow Laboratory's international team of Senior Research Scientists are at the forefront of ocean science research, developing, testing, and applying advanced technologies and methods. They work across three 'core' areas of ocean science: Marine Microbiology and Blue Biotechnology, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, and Ocean Health and Marine Ecosystem Function, conducting research funded by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, and the United Kingdom's National Environmental Research Council, among many others. Though their fields and specializations may be different, all Bigelow scientists participate in the uniquely-collaborative approach to research that the organization has followed since its founding in 1974. This is reflected in the design of the buildings as each research area occupies its own 'wing' but all wings are tied together by a Commons that provides connectivity, meeting rooms and casual interaction spaces for all staff.

"The researchers at Bigelow are focused and committed to understanding the fundamental mechanisms of climate change," said Patrick Cunningham, Senior Associate at Perkins+Will. "Their global sense of environmental stewardship coupled with a strong connection to the local environment led to a truly inspired design collaboration. Together we sought to create a sense of place as unique and as integrated as the coastal environment the campus occupies."

Grants and donations, both public and private, represent the biggest source of funding for Bigelow Laboratory. As part of the intensely collaborative nature of the new campus project, Perkins+Will aided the client team during the funding process for the new facility by actively participating in the preparation of grant applications to the National Science Foundation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 (ARRA) and to the National Institute for Standards and Technology's construction grant program. Support was also provided in securing a major grant award from The State of Maine, Technology Asset Fund.

The project was managed by Perkins+Will's Boston office in partnership with WBRC of Bangor, Maine. Located in the heart of downtown Boston and serving clients throughout New England and beyond, Perkins+Will's Boston practice is anchored in their ability to unite existing context with transformative design. They design for the future "sustainability and flexibly" while honoring the cultural and physical context of each project's location. They are known for their design ingenuity, technical expertise, and unswerving commitment to their clients, including Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Partners HealthCare, Roger Williams University, MIT, Harvard University, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Philips Electronics, and Microsoft. For more information about the Perkins+Will Boston office, visit

About Perkins+Will
Established in 1935, Perkins+Will is a global interdisciplinary architecture and design firm founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance society. With a staff of 1,500 in 22 locations worldwide, the firm serves clients across a broad range of project types and grounds its work in deep research. Perkins+Will ranks among the world's top design firms and is the recipient of hundreds of awards. Social responsibility is fundamental to the firm's outlook, work, and culture, and every year Perkins+Will donates one percent of its design services to non-profit organizations. With pioneering tools to advance sustainable design practices, the largest green building portfolio in North America, nearly 1,000 LEED® Accredited Professionals, and a commitment to the 2030 Challenge, Perkins+Will is recognized as one of the industry's preeminent sustainable design firms. For more information, visit  

About Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
Bigelow Laboratory was founded in 1974 by the late Dr. Charles S. Yentsch and his wife Dr. Clarice Yentsch. It is internationally renowned as an independent, non-profit center for global ocean research, ocean science education, and technology transfer. Recognized as a leader in Maine's emerging innovation economy, the Laboratory's research ranges from microbial oceanography to the large-scale ocean processes that drive global environmental conditions. The Maine State Council of the Society for Human Resources Management announced that Bigelow Laboratory, which currently employs 75 people, ranked ninth among 32 organizations in its category as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine in 2012.

SOURCE Perkins+Will