City of Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Public Health Laboratory

HERA evaluated two possible sites for the City of Philadelphia’s Public Health Laboratory in two different parts of the city, developed a program, right sized the laboratory space and determined that approximately 14,800 square feet will be required for the public health labs.

HERA provided building assessments, multiple concept option development and evaluation and programming and design for a lean, flexible new laboratory space to support investigations of disease outbreaks or threats to public health. Once a site was selected, HERA developed a schematic design layout and supported the city through the lease negotiation process.

The lab design addresses security and containment issues, lean specimen flow, materials and waste management and operational efficiencies, all while exploiting the available exterior openings and sources of natural light into the space.

The new facility includes four BSL2 and BSL3 labs and provides analysis for a wide range of public health needs:

  • clinical chemistry and clinical hematology, including identifying constituents found in blood, urine and other body fluids
  • immunology, including diagnostic and screening tests for syphilis, TPPA and rubella
  • microbiology to determine infection or disease, including for tuberculosis, influenza, norovirus and foodborne illnesses
  • rabies testing for potentially infected animals
  • containment labs and triage for emergency response situations

In addition, HERA acted as the city’s representative by reviewing the building owner’s proposed A/E team credentials, project schedule, plan layouts and construction manager credentials and selection.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


17,600 gross square feet


Site and building assessments, programming, schematic design, acted as owner’s advocate