Cost: $75 million

Size: 26,000 sf

Project Team: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (owner); Centerbrook Architects & Planners (architect); Fortunato Sons Contracting (construction manager); Kohler Ronan (MEP); D&B Engineers and Architects (civil); e2 Engineers (structural); Philip R. Sherman, P.E. (code), Kalin Associates (specifications)

Description: Centerbrook Architects & Planners has designed a complete renovation of the mid-century Demerec Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Once home to four Nobel Laureates, the building will return to prominence through modernization and play a central role in CSHL’s new Center for Therapeutics Research initiative.

The renovation restores the original cast-in-place form and constructs a new three-story addition. The 26,000 sf facility embraces the 1950s design and includes five principal investigator laboratories, four wet labs, chemistry and tissue culture labs, offices and support spaces.

The project presents two major challenges. The building is located in the center of CSHL’s densely-populated campus and renovations must allow for normal campus operations during construction. Additionally, the building itself is listed as a historic resource, requiring Centerbrook to maintain much of the original design. For example, the historic structure’s 11-ft. floor-to-floor heights present a significant obstacle to installing modern laboratory HVAC systems, requiring the design team to develop highly coordinated and innovative mechanical solutions, including high-efficiency geothermal heating and cooling.

The original 16,000 sf facility consisted of two reinforced concrete structures linked by a glass circulation tower. Quality of light and connecting the inside to the outside are two important principles of mid-century architectural design. Demerec’s exterior is punctuated by large exterior windows that were intended to flood the interiors with light and connect the occupants with the idyllic campus setting.  However, renovations and additions through the years compartmentalized interior spaces and blocked exterior windows, limiting both the views and penetration of natural light.

“The renovation creates an open floor plan, restoring views to the exterior from every research space, including unobstructed views of Long Island Sound,” said Todd E. Andrews, AIA, Centerbrook principal. “This renovation returns Demerec to its original form and represents a transformation where both the architecture and research will be honored and appreciated.”

Completion date: January 2019

Contact: Centerbrook Architects, 860-767-0175,