Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Science and Education Campus

Project at a Glance

East Boothbay, ME


Perkins + Will WBRC and Architects - Engineers


Life Sciences

Project Type

New Construction

Project Overview

  • Addressed complex logistical challenges for phased construction on an oceanfront site during harsh Maine winters
  • Responded to requirements of multiple funding sources, including grants from the Maine Technology Asset Fund and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Achieved advanced levels of sustainability within an established budget

This world-renowned center for oceanic research, previously housed in an outdated and cramped facility, required new space to support their expanding programs, attract world-class researchers and form partnerships with other institutions. A 64-acre, oceanfront site was acquired with plans for an ambitious multi-phased campus to meet these needs. The resulting three-building, interconnected LEED Platinum complex encompasses 60,000 sq. ft. of facilities serving over 100 scientists, researchers and administrators.

The first phase included site infrastructure development and the construction of the 25,600 sq. ft. Walter and Helen Norton Center for Blue Biotechnology, which houses the first microbial single-cell genomics facility and largest collection of marine phytoplankton in the world.

The second phase included the 17,197 sq. ft. Center for Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, a laboratory for research on the role of plankton in climate change. The final phase involved the 16,600 sq. ft. Bigelow Center for Ocean Health, which provides laboratories for research on marine microbial ecosystems and their role in maintaining the health of the oceans. The facility is augmented by a 1,400 sq. ft. shore facility, with pier and dock space for research vessels.