Press Release

NASA Science Building Breaks New Ground

By SpaceRef Editor
July 16, 2007
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GREENBELT, Md. – More than just new ground is being broken at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., with the construction of a new, environmentally friendly sciences building. The three-story office and laboratory building, known as the “Exploration Sciences Building,” was designed by EwingCole, a 350-person architecture and engineering firm with offices in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The official groundbreaking ceremony occurred on July 16 at Goddard. Speakers included Dr. Edward Weiler, NASA Goddard’s center director, Laurie Leshin, director of sciences and exploration at NASA Goddard, and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer, Representative of Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District. Armed with their golden shovels, they each assisted with the first dig on the site.

“NASA’s new eco-friendly science building will provide state of the art laboratories and technology for our scientists, giving them access to modern tools and facilities for continued world class research in space and Earth science, and in support of NASA’s mission,” said Weiler.

Also in attendance from NASA were Shana Dale, deputy administrator, NASA Headquarters, Washington; Dr. Colleen Hartman, deputy associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate; and Charles Scales, associate deputy administrator. Other attendees include Judith Davis, Mayor of Greenbelt, Md.; Ingrid Turner of the Prince George’s County Council and Leta Mach of the Greenbelt City Council.

The multi-million dollar Exploration Sciences Building is the first building project of the Goddard Space Flight Center’s campus master plan, and serves as a “launching pad” for NASA-driven space science research over the next 50 years and anchors a new pedestrian-friendly “science neighborhood.”

“EwingCole applied unique design strategies to address NASA’s needs and to create a sustainable facility,” said Jim Wolters, AIA, chief operating officer at EwingCole. “EwingCole created a flexible layout with collaborative spaces strategically located in coordination with NASA’s organizational structure and the building circulation to facilitate informal interaction between scientists. Working in conjunction with laboratory planning consultant M+W Zander, the project team developed a design which allows for the efficient and effective configuration of utilities and laboratory spaces, including new chemistry, electronics and research laboratories.”

The new building will be occupied by personnel from the Astrophysics Science Division, the Solar Systems Exploration Division, as well as the Directorate office itself.

The building is LEED (R) Registered and actively pursuing LEED for New Construction Silver Certification. The LEED (R) Green Building Rating System (TM) is a voluntary building certification program that defines high-performance green buildings that are environmentally responsible and healthier structures.

What makes this a “green building” is that EwingCole has integrated sustainable design initiatives on sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

NASA has determined that all new facilities projects will reach the Silver rating. The Silver rating signifies a high level of commitment to designing, procuring, and installing environmentally friendly materials and incorporating sustainable practices in both design and construction.

David Larsen, Exploration Sciences Building Project Manager at Goddard said, “The NASA team is looking forward to this first major step in the execution of the GSFC Facilities Master Plan. The Exploration Sciences Building will serve as the primary tie in the overall effort of unifying the currently divided east and west campuses.”

NASA has awarded a contract to Manhattan Construction Company of Fairfax, Va., for the construction of the building, beginning later in 2007.

For more information about NASA Goddard, please visit on the Web:

For more information about EwingCole, please visit:

For more information about NASA’s Green Building, please visit on the Web:

SpaceRef staff editor.