Reimagined Historic Laboratory Earns Top Award

Centerbrook Architects and Planners announced today that its restoration of the Demerec Laboratory at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island received a Modernism in America Award from Docomomo US.

The cast-in-place concrete building was originally completed in 1953 by prominent mid-century architects Anderson and Beckwith. Centerbrook restored and extended its character-defining elements, many of which were obscured by past modifications. State-of-the-art laboratory building systems were designed and installed to fit in the strict confines of the eleven feet floor-to-floor structure to support molecular biology and chemistry research.

“To strip everything down and carefully restore it to its original condition is a huge undertaking,” remarked Celia Bertoia, a member of the awards jury. “It was well thought out and executed successfully.”

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Centerbrook’s project was one of seven recognized in the Award of Excellence category. Now in its tenth year, the Modernism in America Awards showcase projects that represent the best of modern preservation, documentation, and advocacy. Founded in 1995, Docomomo US is dedicated to the preservation of buildings, sites, and neighborhoods of the Modern movement.

“We are delighted that Docomomo recognized the renaissance of Demerec Laboratory with this prestigious award,” said Todd E. Andrews, AIA, Centerbrook’s Principal in Charge. “Preserving the modern principles of its pioneering design while revitalizing it as a prominent center for research and innovation was our primary goal, supporting scientists for generations to come.”

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Centerbrook’s longtime client, is a world-renowned institute for the advancement of genetics research. Established in 1890, the private, not-for-profit laboratory is home to eight Nobel Prize winners and employs 1,000 people, including 600 scientists, students, and technicians. Its Meetings & Courses Program annually hosts more than 12,000 scientists from around the world.

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“The Demerec Laboratory is a remarkable building—arguably one of the most productive in all of science,” said CSHL President & CEO Bruce Stillman, Ph.D. “The building houses just seven laboratories, and since 1953, has been home to four Nobel Prize winners.”

Centerbrook Architects and Planners was conceived in 1975 as a community of architects working together to advance place-making and the craft of building. A collaborative firm with an exceptional history of building, Centerbrook is known for inventive design solutions that are emblematic of its clients. Centerbrook’s designs have won more than 430 awards, including the Architecture Firm Award.