The award-winning design for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA)  new Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC)  replacement laboratory saw its first sign of movement on Sept 15 with a groundbreaking ceremony held in La Jolla, Calif. The $102 million project is funded primarily by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) , resulting in a rapidly advanced construction plan for the facility.
Designed by Gould Evans  in association with Architects | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker  of San Diego and Gibbens Drake Scott Inc.  of Raytown, Mo., the building will replace the existing NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and will house 283 staff members in laboratory and office spaces. Construction is expected to begin in October of this year and be completed in 2011.
“This has been one of the most interesting and challenging projects that our firm has ever had the opportunity to design,” said Bob Gould, co-founder of Gould Evans and Principal-in-Charge for this project. “We were provided with an extremely steep site, facing west toward the Pacific Ocean and a relatively complex building program which includes laboratories, offices and enclosed parking. The project evolved through the design process in a manner that maintains views over the site for neighbors, maximizes views from the site to La Jolla cove, and utilizes a series of courtyards and light wells to optimize the use of daylight and fresh air. We intend for this to be a significant addition to the University of California at San Diego campus and a great place for the NOAA researchers to do their important work.”
The San Diego chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognized  the unbuilt NOAA La Jolla Laboratory Replacement project with one of four honor awards last year. The honor award is AIA San Diego ’s highest award, celebrating "extraordinary, thoroughly resolved architectural design, worthy of the profession’s highest regard." The project is pursuing Gold-level certification under LEED guidelines administered by the U.S. Green Building Council .
SWFSC is the research arm of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in the Southwest Region. Their mission is to generate the scientific information necessary for the conservation and management of the region’s living marine resources. The new building will incorporate a large sea- and fresh-water Ocean Technology Development Tank which will expand NOAA’s ability to develop and apply advanced technologies for surveys of fisheries resources and their associated ecosystems.
Gibbens Drake Scott  is the prime contract holder with NOAA and responsible for mechanical, plumbing and electrical system design for this project. Gould Evans serves as architect of record, while Architect | Delawie Wilkes Rodrigues Barker serves as associate architect. Additional consultants include TranSystems Corporation  and Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company  of Kansas City and HDR Architecture , MWH Americas , RBF Consulting  and Wimmer Yamada & Caughey  of San Diego.