Malena Aquino, AIA, is a new principal at the Page office in Washington DC. She specializes in high technology projects, including higher education research laboratories and learning facilities. As a native of Paraguay who moved to the United States during secondary school, Malena’s dual cultural lenses and multilinguistic fluency fit in perfectly with the international world of science. One of her key responsibilities at Page will be elevating and expanding Page’s dedicated laboratory planning and design services.
Her extensive architectural experience covers a broad range of professional services. Effectively connecting with laboratory users, successfully identifying their working needs today and anticipating potential future uses of their spaces as technology evolves is a critical component of Malena’s work. Additionally, she acts as liaison between laboratory users and the project team to ensure the building has appropriate infrastructure to support the finished lab in its current - and future - states.
She has designed and planned several million gross square feet of laboratory spaces, some of which include laboratories and botanical research gardens for the Botanical Research Center at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada and the 200,000 gsf Robert H & Clarice Smith Building at Johns Hopkins University, Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore, MD, that features five stories of flexible ophthalmology research laboratories and residency program spaces.
The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) Building No. 5 in Rockville, MD required her programming, planning and design expertise for the four-level, 125,000 gsf laboratory that included specialized laboratories for microarray, proteomics, FACScan, cell culture, and bioinformatics. She also provided the same type of services for the 32,000 gsf laboratory in the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA) in Rockville, MD, which houses general research labs, a BSL3 suite, a hydrogen production lab, a dark room, cold room, equipment rooms, and other lab support spaces.
Malena’s work extends across the realm of science to include public health such as her work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her involvement included international lab planning workshops, as well as the design and review of laboratory projects in other countries such as Barbados, Mozambique, Haiti, and the Bahamas among others.
She joined Page as the result of a merger with her previous long-time firm, SST Planners, where she also held the role of principal. When Malena graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Architecture Highest Honors, she also was awarded the top American Institute of Architects School Medal Award for scholarship and professional promise. Afterward, she completed a course of study in Control of Biohazards in the Research Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University.