Howard University IRB

Washington, District of Columbia

LBA partnered with HDR to design the new Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB) at Howard University in Washington, DC. The new IRB will support interdisciplinary research and educational collaboration, and will provide faculty and students with a 21st century learning environment that incorporates the latest technology and the highest educational and research design standards. The 81,600 square foot building includes 32,000 sf of laboratory and support spaces, 3,000 sf of retail and

2,500 sf of multipurpose and meeting spaces, including a 100-seat auditorium. The auditorium will be available for both university and community functions in the hope of making the sciences more approachable and understandable by all. To further promote connections, exterior and interior glass walled labs will allow passersby, both inside and out, to glimpse the research activities within.

As the first new academic building to be constructed on campus in more than 30 years, the IRB embodies the spirit of the university’s academic renewal initiative as detailed in its campus master plan.

The site is rich with context on many levels, with perhaps the most obvious being that Georgia Avenue NW is a major thoroughfare. From either direction, the approach toward the corner where the IRB sits places the new building front and center; a virtual gateway for the new face of the campus, as well as for ongoing revitalization initiatives taking place in the adjacent commercial district. Breaking with the long-standing practice of having its buildings face inward, toward the campus, the IRB’s front door was intentionally placed onto Georgia Avenue, facing out to the community. This symbolic shift in perspective represents Howard University’s commitment to both 21st century research and to promoting connections with the greater community. The building is clad in an energy efficient glass curtain-wall and red-brick colored terra cotta rain-screen system, with striking views of the monumental stairways contained within. State-of-the-art technology and building materials create a new, vibrant expression, while simultaneously preserving the traditional style of the historical, predominately masonry campus.



Howard University


81,600 SF


$45.5 Million


Architectural Design Services

Key Features:

Sustainable Design

ISO-5 Level Clean Rooms

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