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Reiter Architecture & Design

Forensics Science Center

Designed by Croxton Collaborative Architects, in association with Cecil Baker & Associates, the Forensic Science Center for the Philadelphia Police Department is a state-of-the-art forensics laboratory facility handling all crime scene evidence in Philadelphia (except homicide). Lauren Reiter was the Project Architect for this important project, which was awarded as “Top Ten Green Buildings” in America by the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) in 2006.

The building is housed in an abandoned 1929 school building, which was located on a desolate and impermeable site. The directive by the City was to provide a sustainable model for future City projects, including both site and building. New high performance windows allowed the majority of personnel to work in a full-daylit environment - very atypically for laboratory environments, particularly those including a firearms unit and shooting range; crime scene unit; chemistry laboratories for drug analysis; and criminalistics and DNA labs.

Among other challenges with this complex program, laboratory environments tend to be among the most energy-intensive building types – but in spite of this, the building achieves a 72% reduction in total annual source energy, and a 69% reduction in 25-year CO2 emissions.

The site was redesigned to manage 70% of precipitation on site with vegetation and vegetated swales improving the local micro-climate and providing habitat for indigenous flora and fauna.