Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Biogeochemistry Research Building

“I am writing to tell you that the new building is absolutely incredible, a great work environment. Being here has helped to recharged me and has already made a difference in my collaborations”

- Daniel Repeta, Ph.D. Marine Chemist Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Biogeochemistry Research Building

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Woods Hole, Massachusetts

33,500 gsf



One of three research buildings designed by Ellenzweig under a master plan for the Institution’s Quissett Campus (prepared by Ellenzweig and Stephen Stimson Associates, landscape architects), the Biogeochemistry Research Building is an interdisciplinary research facility for the Departments of Biology, Marine Chemistry, and Geochemistry. The facility provides flexible research space for 10 Principal Investigators and 35 research associates. The overall building program includes research laboratories, lab support, equipment suites, clean rooms, offices, conference room, and common room/lounge.


The building is organized into three principal areas: a rectangular block providing flexible space for labs and lab support functions, an office area shaped into a gentle curve on the principal entry side, and a slightly separate two-story volume housing a conference room and lounge. The continuous lab zone provides an efficient service distribution system, permits flexibility in ongoing lab re-allocations, and allows researchers from different disciplines to work in close proximity. The lab support zone, directly adjacent to the lab areas, provides easy access to support functions such as autoclaves, microscopy rooms, and cold rooms. Offices for P.I.’s, post-docs, and grad students are grouped together across from the labs, encouraging researcher interaction while providing good proximity to lab areas.


The exterior is clad in white-cedar siding and white curtainwall, with zinc panels on penthouse walls. The cedar siding emulates a prominent material of the local Cape Cod context, rendered in a more contemporary idiom, and is intended to weather to a soft gray to match some of the adjacent structures on the Institution’s Quissett Campus.


The building design has been guided by green building principles, including preservation of open space, use of heat recovery, use of both wet and dry scrubbers for exhaust systems, sunshades for solar control, use of renewable resources, and many other features.


Ellenzweig served as Architect of Record, Design Architect, and Laboratory Planner for the building, which was part of an ensemble project that included the Marine Research Building and an expansion/renovation of the Central Energy Plant.