A new 136,497-sf building in Oahu, Hawaii has become the largest forensic anthropology lab in the world. Designed by SmithGroupJJR, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) new Forensic Identification Laboratory combines operations that were previously dispersed across three military locations.
By combining these operations into one facility efficiency, productivity, and support of the DPAA mission, which is to “provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel to their families and the nation,” are all greatly improved.
The building has advanced investigation laboratories, a flexible and sustainable working environment for staff, and appropriate spaces for the families of the deceased. The primary laboratory space includes the DPAA Laboratory, the Material Evidence and Life Support Investigation Lab, a DNA lab, and a complete forensic medicine facility.
The DPAA Laboratory space is on the third floor of the building and includes 70 examination tables. Half of the floor is dedicated to lab space while the other half consists of a family viewing room, offices, and administrative spaces. The DPAA Laboratory conforms to Biological Safety Level Two.
The Forensic Identification Laboratory’s design is meant as an homage to the Hickam Air Force Base (now known as Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam). The uniquely Hawaiian structure features structural concrete and pre-cast concrete panels that are fashioned with an abstracted Hawaiian pattern, a three-story garden space, and a craftsman-like shade trellis that welcomes visitors.
SmithGroupJJR also acted as the MEP engineer and laboratory planner and programmer.