BBSRC National Virology Centre: the Plowright Building

The Pirbright Institute
Pirbright, Surrey, United Kingdom

In the countryside of Surrey, England, a new containment facility for the Pirbright Institute will revolutionize the way people work with viral diseases affecting animal health.

Based on careful responses to assessed risk, the design satisfies security and containment requirements for high-consequence animal disease research within a highly interactive environment. The design ushers in a new paradigm for Category 4 bio-containment, in which researchers work in labs and offices with large windows and expansive views, gather in an open light-filled atrium, and eat in the cafeteria—all within the containment boundary. A radical departure from traditional bunker-like Category 4 containment facilities, this new model is safer, enhances research productivity, and is exponentially more comfortable and pleasant for researchers and staff.

Through an in-depth understanding of the facility's user groups and their preferred and optimal work processes, we developed a new approach to containment that resulted in this safe, collaborative and light-filled work environment—a place where people want to be.