Partners in Health

Mirebalais Reference Laboratory

Designed for Partners In Health, the new home for Haiti’s National Pathology and Microbiology Reference Lab provides high-level lab space for clinical pathology and microbiology, including BSL-2 and BSL-3 labs, and addresses the critical need to diagnose and treat disease in Haiti. To provide sophisticated lab space in a resource-limited environment, the design strategically zones “high-tech” environmentally controlled spaces and “low-tech” naturally ventilated spaces, while providing flexibility and capacity for future change and expansion.

Located across from the main hospital, the Reference Laboratory occupies two floors within a simple linear structure, organized “anatomically” into three sections: at the “head”, the main entrance serves as patient intake for testing and triage of test samples, with lab offices and conference/classroom above. Within the “torso” is a long flexible space with open bays for diagnostic labs, which include modular benches, zoned to support chemistry, hematology, immunology and virology testing and equipment. On one side of the lab are a series of rooms for anatomic pathology and microbiology. Along with regularly spaced alcoves for fume hoods, these are clustered and stacked on each floor to concentrate
necessary exhaust fans.

At the “tail” are located support functions, including a break room, staff lockers and showers, waste handling and storage at the ground floor, with a specialized BSL-3 lab above. The building organization allows for naturally ventilated spaces to be concentrated at the head and tail of the building, with conditioned space concentrated in the torso. A linear open air circulation gallery, shady and north facing, provides an outdoor respite area for lab technicians and staff. The most technically demanding lab space, located on the top floor, benefits from a high-bay roof that lets natural daylight penetrate deep into the interior spaces. Deep roof overhangs provide shelter from direct sunlight and driving rain.

TCI’s electrical engineers worked with PIH staff to provide a highly reliable and cost effective
electrical power system to serve the sensitive equipment loads in the laboratory.

Project Specifics

Architect: Shepley Bulfinch
Project Size: 15,700 Square Feet
TCI Role: Engineer of Record