Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Building 501

RS&H is the designer-of-record and Laboratory Planner for this design-build project that includes a 21,000-square-foot remodel and 5,000-square-foot addition to a vaccine production facility. The facility features biological, chemical, and viral BSL-2 testing laboratories; ISO class 7, 8, and 9 clean production areas; decontamination and sterilization areas; and cryogenic storage and freezer sample storage areas. Production capabilities include USP (upstream) and DSP (downstream) flexible production modules that utilize the latest disposable technologies. Functions include inoculum, media prep, fermentation, purification, chromatography, lyophilization, vial wash, labeling and packing, and warehousing. These areas are supported by personnel and material airlocks, decontamination areas, and product staging and storage. Laboratory and production functions are supported by administration offices, a break area, and conference spaces.

The existing facility consists of a concrete frame structure with two subsequent steel and bearing wall additions. The design-build team worked in collaboration to address the initial outfitting, commissioning and validation of the laboratory and production suites.

Special attention was given to the following:

  • Advanced technology function fit-out of the original 60-year-old concrete frame building shell containing limited floor to ceiling heights
  • Careful zoning of functions required to allow less technical office areas in portions of the facility challenged by limited ceiling height and more advanced spaces requiring accessible/walkable ceiling spaces for production area mechanical systems in areas where steel frame roof will be raised to provide space required
  • Structural remediation on floor joists compromised by age, abuse and moisture damage
  • Modular laboratory functions required the adjustment of circulation space to allow a lab configuration for future adaptability of casework and equipment
  • Process Driven Design to allow for material and personnel flow requirements of the production spaces and logical sequencing of spaces


“RS&H has worked diligently with Whiting-Turner to align cost objectives with functional requirements while continuously maximizing space through efficient cGMP planning. RS&H’s Principle-in-Charge led the design team’s efforts to work with the client’s end-user groups to create a floor plan that incorporated their needs and provided flexibility for the future. Their ability to easily and quickly gain the trust and confidence of the end-users proved invaluable difficult and short design development process.”

– Stacy Percoski, Senior Project Manager, The Whiting Turner Contracting Company

Project Details


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