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NOAA Satellite Operations Facility
Morphosis

June 01, 2009 /

Suitland, Maryland, USA

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Photo: Maxwell McKenzie

In light of NOAA's mission to monitor and safeguard the earth, the architects reexamined the traditional relationship between building and landscape - figure and ground.

A reflection of the Satellite Operations Facility's environmental mandate, the design scheme prioritizes open space, reduces the presence of built form, and integrates architecture with landscape.

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Photo: Maxwell McKenzie

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.

/Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder (1956)

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Photo: Nic Lehoux

A field of antennae - the "eyes and ears" of the operation - crowns the three-story bar building, pitching and sweeping to receive information (visible data, radiance, sea surface, snow and ice cover, and moisture content of the atmosphere) from the sixteen satellites it monitors.

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Photo: Nic Lehoux

The iconic antennae comprise the dominant visual register of the project. The departments that operate as "the brain" of the operation; mission control, launch control, and computer processing are housed in the slender bar.

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Photo: Nic Lehoux

Beneath the bar, lies the "body," a disc-shaped building that slips into the thickened landscape of lifted ground. This partially submerged, double-high space accommodates offices and support services.

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Photo: Roland Halbe

Long swaths of interior walls are wrapped in imagery of the earth taken by NOAA's satellites while the convex ceiling plane simulates the planet's curvature as seen from space.

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Photo: Roland Halbe

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Photo: Maxwell McKenzie

Slots in the traversable, undulating green roofscape admit natural light and create niches for large courtyards. A glass lobby, with a security control point, mediates between the two main architectural components of body and brain.

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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Site Plan


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Plan Level 1


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Plan level 2


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Plan Level 3


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Plan Level 4


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Plan Level 5


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Drawing courtesy Morphosis
Section

Facts about NOAA Satellite Operations Facility

Site area:

870,000 ft2
Project size: 208,000 ft2

Architects:
Morphosis

Project Architect:

David Rindlaub

Project Manager:

Paul Gonzales

Project Designer:

Jean Oei

Project Team:

Edgar Hatcher
Salvador Hidalgo
Ted Kane
Maia Johnson
Chris Warren

Project Assistants:

Caroline Barat
Alasdair Dixon
Haseb Faqirzada
Carlos Gomez
Dwoyne Keith
Laura McAlpine
Gerardo Mingo
Nadine Quirmbach
Michaela Schippl
Natalia Traverso

Joint Venture:
Einhorn Yaffee Prescott

Partner:

Ed Kohlberg

Principal in Charge:

Bill Lavine
Doug Gehley

Project Manager:

Randy Wong

Mechanical Engineer:

Lew Brode
Brian Carroll

Contractor:

P.J. Dick

Civil Engineer:

A. Morton Thomas & Associates

Structural Engineer:

Cagley & Associates

Electrical Engineer:

Einhorn Yaffee Prescott

Mechanical Engineer:

Einhorn Yaffee Prescott

Landscape Designer:

EDAW
Walt Cole
Pearson

Client:

General Services Administration

 

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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