NIH Vaccine Research Center

Promoting AIDS Vaccine Research
Bethesda, Maryland
NIH c/o Spaulding & Slye
HLM Architects
84,000 Square Feet
Year Completed: 

The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports the organization's mission to conduct research that facilitates the development of effective vaccines for human disease. The center's primary research focus is the development of AIDS vaccines.

The VRC project is a five-story, 75,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art medical research and conference center. Designed to resemble neighboring buildings on the NIH campus, the exterior is glass curtain wall and precast concrete. The upper floors house research laboratories, offices, and support spaces. A mechanical penthouse occupies the top floor of the building and includes the major HVAC equipment and other service components. In addition to the penthouse area, a partial interstitial space above the laboratory space provides mechanical and electrical distribution on each floor. The first floor features an 8,000 square-foot conference center, with a 100-seat conference room, audiovisual teleconference facilities, and a library, to promote international communication among scientific groups.

Flexibility is a key element of the design. During construction, NIH was still searching for a VRC director. The design of the VRC allowed the team to easily adapt the building to the new director's vision.