Over the past decade, it has become readily apparent that the global environment is increasingly sensitive to human activity. The effects of global warming, increasing energy costs, dramatic climate changes and shortages of raw materials, potable water and food strain the global community.
In its 48th year, the Laboratory of the Year Awards continue to recognize excellence in research...
Each year, many entries are entered into R&D Magazine’s Laboratory of the Year...
Innovative thinking drives all scientific research. Scientists require spaces that allow them the freedom to work in a variety of ways. Designing lab buildings is a complicated endeavor for any design team. To have a successful project the architect and scientist must learn to communicate and speak each other’s language.
Many energy-efficiency strategies are often viewed in isolation, not allowing projects to realize their full potential. When viewed as part of the cooling system, the integration of a high-performance envelope with exterior shading is able to decrease the size of equipment needed.
The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), based in Bar Harbor, Maine, operates at the forefront of genomic research. Tsoi/Kobus & Associates (TK&A)’s challenge as co-designer of The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX GM) in Farmington, Conn., was to ensure that the research environment can respond quickly to shifts in research focus that are necessary to support these advances in personalized medicine.
Research labs by their nature are complex. They involve careful and time-consuming consideration throughout planning, design and construction to ensure spaces meet quality and testing requirements, and are flexible enough to meet the demands of various users without enduring the costs of repeated renovations.
Rapid technological advances, scientific leaps and the influences of modern culture are some factors that have many institutions scrambling to update or replace outdated research facilities. Concurrent with this shift in research and how it’s conducted is a move toward collaborative, multidisciplinary research. Leveraging the cross-pollination of ideas between diverse groups often leads to extraordinary results.
Interdisciplinary collaboration has become paramount to academic and corporate-based research. Collaboration is likely to occur only in an environment that enables and enhances interaction among researchers. Departing from the traditional lab environment, a “liquid lab” design maximizes the adaptability of a space, the fluidity of the changing research and the researcher’s access to collaborative space.
An emerging trend in delivering science and research buildings is “developer-led, build-to-suit construction” leased back to the corporate or institutional tenant. While offering many attractive features, this delivery model inevitably creates tension around design, schedule, budget and cost allocations between the core/shell (C/S) and tenant improvement (TI) projects.
Lab design must begin with a clear understanding of the research mission it will support. The underlying philosophy of the institution is a critical element of the lab design brief, informing every decision including the placement of interaction zones that foster innovation.
The Cord Blood Center (CBC) at State Univ. of New York’s Upstate Medical Univ. is a small but highly specialized lab facility for stem cell research. It’s one of only a handful of similar facilities in the U.S. built exclusively as a cord blood lab. The building was financed by a $15 million grant from the State of New York that covered its design, construction and fit-out, including costly and sophisticated equipment.
Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI) kicked off its new building project design on July 10, 2009, with a goal setting session. What resulted was a group of over 200 “stakeholders” in true Madison, Wisc., fashion, who realized their chance to be heard and address their goals for the WEI.
Take a look at the picture. Would you believe that this could be the “lab of the future?” This is a picture of Thomas Edison’s lab in Fort Myers, Fla. Built in 1928, the lab contained a chemical processing area, machine shop, grinding room, office area and dark room and was used by Edison, along with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, to find an alternative source for rubber to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign sources.
Most technicians have worked in a lab space with ventilation challenges. Poor lab ventilation can adversely affect air comfort and respiration for occupants, or affect research results via poor temperature control, uneven airflow and drafts. The main cause of ventilation challenges confronting labs today is the introduction of the HVAC supply air with such excessive velocities that the fume exhaust hood capture process is disrupted.
What are the new design ideas and features that help meet flexibility goals in a lab design? What new lab features help researchers focus on their science goals? They’re generally features and designs that bring resources to researchers without additional expenditure. Functional and flexible casework can also be pleasing to the eye with simple lines, and heavy duty to withstand heavy use.
By using a sophisticated 3-D virtual reality (3DVR) visualization program and inputting BIM project data, lab designers can illustrate, in photo-realistic details, the design elements of a project to their clients. These sophisticated programs enable viewers to "see" and “walk through” the lab of the intended final design using a high-definition (HD) headset and motion trackers.
It’s no secret that the construction of a new building or the renovation of an existing building involves activities that generate a considerable amount of vibration. Although this is a necessary by-product of the construction process, the ensuing vibrations can have a negative impact on neighboring facilities, particularly those that house vibration-sensitive equipment and activities.