Fairfax Water Quality Laboratory and Visitor Center. Fairfax, Virginia.
The Fairfax County Water Quality Lab is a unique facility that encompasses a visitor center, an educational resource for the study of state-of-the art water treatment practices, and a laboratory for water sampling and testing throughout Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William Counties and the City of Alexandria. The new Fairfax County Water Quality Lab was built between and linking two existing buildings and provides a controlled access point for all visitors to the lab.
The renovation included 6,000 SF of laboratory space, and a 7,000 SF addition was designed for the new visitor center and an expanded laboratory. The visitor center includes an assembly/conference room and educational display areas.
Using the same materials as the existing buildings, the addition mediates the scale of the two buildings it connects. In contrast to the existing, the new elements present a lively and sinuous face to the visitor.
The design mimics the water that the facility produces: it is animated, clean, and crisp. The inlaid terrazzo lobby floor is a stylized map of the Potomac watershed, which is served by the facility.