The Biovac vaccine laboratory in Ndabeni, Cape Town, is a place of serious science, but also of innovation and invention. The brief calls for a lab block with a small office component taking advantage of views west. The clinical QC laboratory has to comply with stringent international standards to accredit Biovac the right to manufacture and test vaccines in SA.
The building, with its central double volume, mediates between the admin wing and the lab, tying disparate working groups together. The simple layout of the laboratory and offices with sun control skin is elevated to allow for a future lab. Windows are cut into the laboratory wherever required. The sunscreens are incredibly simply put together, being glued to a rudimentary galvanized steel frame using double-sided tape. This inventiveness in the face of economy and budgets is also evident in red perspex pendant lights. The Biovac centre has been credited as an example of what is possible in South African architecture, offering opportunity for playful invention and creativity.