Woods Hole Research Center Gilman Ordway Campus Woods Hole, Massachusetts


Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center study forests and global carbon and nitrogen cycles to determine the effects of deforestation and human activities on the environment. WM+P’s design for the new campus demonstrates the ability for modern building construction to harmonize with a habitable earth.

By renovating and expanding Hilltop, a 17-room Victorian summer home, the Center consolidates its scientific, policy, and administrative staffs, in a single location. The central features include a two-story “commons” with panoramic views and a 100-person meeting facility that takes advantage of the lower level and northern exposure. The building’s systems, siting, and orientation all draw upon the natural energy flows of the sun, earth, and wind, while integrated design strategies allow the building to operate with dramatically reduced energy consumption—up to 60 percent below energy code. The building’s location in a sensitive coastal ecosystem demanded that the local water quality be preserved, if not enhanced, which led to the design of a denitrifying septic system and a rainwater collection system. Woods Hole’s reliance on state-of-the-shelf technologies and systems provides a replicable model for both regional and more distant communities.


Office, research laboratory, and meeting spaces


7,500 square feet renovation; 12,500 square feet addition


Completed June 2003


William McDonough + Partners, Design Architect
TR White, Inc., General Contractor
Nelson Byrd Woltz, Landscape Architects
Northern Power, Renewable Energy Consultants
Mark Rosenbaum, P.E., Energy Systems Designer & Consultant
Clanton & Associates, Inc., Lighting Design
Ferguson Engineering, Code Consultants
Jeff Jeffers, Network Consultant


AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Projects, 2004
Northeast Green Building Awards, 2004