NASA Showcases Modernity and Innovation

June 22, 2021

Groundbreaking began on NASA Langley’s largest laboratory in April 2017, and the $96 million project is part of a revitalization plan that will replace and repurpose the site’s facilities.

Hampton, Va.
© Scott Wertz

For NASA, the building showcases their commitment to modernity and innovation. “This is going to advance and ensure the capabilities the agency must have for mission success, as well as pave the way for Langley’s future as we enter our 100th year,” said Dave Bowles, director NASA Langley Research Center.  A façade that reflected thsose values was needed.


With the collaborative efforts of AECOM, W.M. Jordan, Hill Intl. and CEI Materials, the façade utilizes a variety of exterior cladding materials. In a modern take on municipal design, the building features terracotta as a replacement for brick. The building also features single skin metal panels and metal louvers. Each element was fabricated by CEI Materials.

A main component of the façade is the ALPOLIC aluminum composite material (ACM) in two distinct finishes, which offers modernity to this aeronautic building. The product was specified for its rigidity, light weight and flat appearance. The ACM was fabricated utilizing CEI Materials’ R4000 Drained Rear-Ventilated Rainscreen Panel System.

Uniquelt, the building is composed of structural concrete which required a majority of the cladding materials to be installed directly onto it. In order to achieve a flat, uniform appearance, the design required planning and adjustments to design and construct a lateral support system, which allowed for external insulation. 

CEI Materials used a variety of technologies in order provide design assist capabilities to the project’s team. In addition to 3D scanning, the team was responsible for numerous aspects of quality control to ensure the panels arrived optimally on site. And due to the project’s size, the team overcame a variety of challenges.


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