Gorgas Commemorative Institute of Health Studies

Panama Ministry of Health | Panama City (Chivo Chivo), Panama

The Gorgas Commemorative Institute of Health Studies is responsible for the primary administration of public health in Panama and contributes to the development of excellence in research and teaching.

Merrick developed a complete master plan and schematic design, cost analysis, technical study, and a preliminary environmental impact study to build a complex of state-of-the-art laboratories designed in a modern way on the new Gorgas Campus in Chivo Chivo. The project’s mandate was to establish a point of reference for biocontainment and biosafety in Panama to safeguard epidemiological threats, protect the life, physical integrity and health of all people and respond to disasters and mitigate their impact on trade, industry, and regional development.

The first phase of the project includes construction of Level 2 and Level 3 biosecurity laboratories with administrative support areas; a wastewater treatment plant and central services; security; engineering offices; warehouse; transport; site infrastructure; and a perimeter fence.

One goal of the project was to minimize the environmental impact of the project in the Panama Canal watershed through sustainable construction practices designed to maximize project sustainability, reduce emissions to the external environment, and ensure an environment of safe internal work. High priority was given to the need for a flexible and modern design that was functional and visually distinctive.

Above all, the buildings were planned, designed and constructed in accordance with the standards established in the fifth edition of the CDC Biosecurity in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, as well as with all international, national, state and local standards.

The Merrick team was able to take advantage of the irregular terrain of the project to design a significant green space in the heart of the campus, connecting laboratories and other buildings, clinics and employee spaces. Not only does it visually contribute to the image of the campus as an ecologically responsible space, but the reduction of the paved spaces creates a “green lung” that helps to minimize the local effects of solar irradiation and thus reduce air conditioning requirements, contributing to the purification of the air and collection of rainwater.


Architecture;Electrical Engineering;Engineering;Master Planning;Mechanical Engineering;
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