This 182,000 gsf testing facility developed by the General Services Administration for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is located in Prince Georges County in the vicinity of the University of Maryland at College Park.
The basic program elements of the project are organized into the following building components:
• the ATF National Laboratory, a single–story atrium building accommodating the Alcohol and Tobacco Laboratory and the Forensic Science Laboratory, with associated conference, training, library, administrative and service support functions;
• the Fire Testing Research Center, a single–story high bay research testing facility capable of conducting a wide variety of potential fire re-enactments;
• a separate, Water and Air Abatement Facility associated with the Fire Research Laboratory;
• a Site/Mail Reception Facility for controlling the access of people and material onto the site; and
• on-grade parking for staff and visitors, totaling 120 spaces, with the potential expansion for 50 additional spaces.
Set into a rural landscape of 32 acres, this facility promotes a campus orientation and a character emphasized by a long low building combining both the National Laboratory and the Fire Testing Research Center. The architectural character of the buildings is particularly sensitive to the sloping topography and vegetation of the site, utilizing both to visually screen the facility from the community beyond. As much as possible, the scale of the buildings has been minimized, reflecting the character of a pastoral agricultural complex rather than large industrial buildings.
The building volumes, while placed sensitively on the gently sloping terrain, needed to be discretely secured from unauthorized access along a designated perimeter. Regularly spaced masonry piers at prominent locations complement this barrier.
A simple and economical exterior materials palette of CMU base and architectural precast panels, and a standing seam copper wall, coping and roof creates an appropriate architectural language to enhance this arcadian environment.
2004 Citation for Architecture / Engineering GSA Design Award