BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building

 BBSRC National Virology Centre: the Plowright Building

BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building

Putting People at the Center in the Containment Lab

In the countryside of Surrey, England, a new containment facility for the Pirbright Institute is revolutionizing 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.

 BBSRC National Virology Centre: the Plowright Building
The Pirbright Institute

Surrey, England,
United Kingdom

151,000 sf (14,000 m²)


Merit Award (2016)
Built category
American Institute of Architects, New Jersey Chapter
Building Team Awards​ (2015)
Platinum Team Award
Building Design + Construction
Lab of the Year Award (2015)
Special Mention
R&D Magazine
Judge's Special Award (2014)
British Construction Industry Awards