A buzzword thrown around in lab design is commissioning. But truly how important is this process to meeting end goals? My answer: extremely. Building commissioning is the process of verifying, in new construction, all building subsystems to achieve an owner’s project requirements as intended by the building owner and as designed by the building architects and engineers.
Flexibility in research labs has been a universal goal in recent years. Components that...
The typical lab building is an energy hog. These buildings house complex environments heavy on...
Is it possible to design a learning and research center that maximizes efficiency while accelerating interdisciplinary discovery that often happens within informal spaces outside classrooms and labs? Colleges and universities are recognizing the need to provide informal research and learning places in addition to flexible labs and classrooms.
Adaptability and flexibility are key ingredients to successful lab planning and design. As the technology changes, so does the nature of the research and the ways in which researchers use the space. Labs, though equipped in a more complex and technical manner, are ultimately workplaces. Like open offices throughout the corporate world, labs are transforming into open work zones supported by collocated specialized equipment.
Academic institutions are seeing significant shifts in pedagogy in response to advances in digital technology. Universities are capitalizing on this paradigm shift to take many areas of study beyond traditional text books, physically engaging students in a more meaningful way and connecting them to opportunities in the marketplace.
Science is evolving: It’s becoming more translational and multidisciplinary in nature. Just as science evolves, so do lab environments. Most lab environments are now designed more open and not just for one discipline—biologists may work next to chemists, or chemists next to physicist, and so forth. However, the landscape of researchers in a lab environment has also evolved.
For so many clients, building new ground-up lab space isn’t an option. From an economic standpoint, the duration of new construction doesn’t serve the immediate need; and often, an appropriate site is unavailable. In our dense urban centers, the desire for researchers to be co-located with their peers and their heroes, makes the competition for space a real challenge.
Without substantial experience in Biosafety Level 3 work it can be easily underestimated just how much is involved in designing a BSL-3 facility. Design guidelines such as the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) list BSL-3/ABSL-3 design criteria that may appear as a deceptively simple upgrade to BSL-2; a good bit of reading between the lines is needed.
Many higher education institutions are struggling to meet a broad spectrum of facilities recapitalization needs that return the greatest benefit to the campus. These needs include capital improvements to flexible facilities that support contemporary learning and create an interactive, collaborative experience for the broad and evolving campus community.
How do we design labs for future uses that haven’t been defined? Today’s interdisciplinary approach to scientific research requires synergistic, extremely flexible lab spaces that accommodate the needs of diverse users. To support the growing convergence of scientific disciplines and quickly evolving technologies, organizations must provide flexible research environments that allow for efficient short- and long-term changes.
Commissioning has become an increasingly common practice. It’s essentially a formalized functional performance test of an entire building’s systems—a process that validates, verifies and documents the builder’s project objectives have been fully met. Simply put, commissioning independently confirms newly built, renovated or existing buildings work the way they’re supposed to.
Do you have what it takes to provide input for the design of a new building? Good researchers and good user representatives often share similar qualities. User representatives are the primary link between the designers and the functional requirements of a lab project. They provide the expertise the design team needs to shape the general planning parameters.
The idea of green and sustainable building isn’t a new one. In fact, the idea of using sustainable materials for building has been around for generations. But until recently, the goal of achieving LEED Platinum certification was retained for buildings that weren’t massively energy dependent.
The design of labs for sustainable construction and operation has become a major driver in the A/E/C industry over the past 10 to 15 years. Most large academic, government and corporate lab clients are looking for sustainable design approaches at a minimum, and third-party certification, such as LEED, in many cases.
Labs use a lot of energy. What else is new? But how that energy is used is key to understanding opportunities for energy reduction. The energy genetics of a lab can vary depending on the program of the building. And energy programming helps firms map the energy DNA of the building in a way that’s specific to the program and climate.
It’s a well-known fact that labs consume four times more energy per square foot than a typical office building. And while ventilation and plug loads account for much of this energy use, proper design and detailing of building envelopes can have a significant impact on the energy demands of lab buildings.
Translational research is a paradigm for research designed to enable innovative thinking by leveraging the benefits of collaboration. The term first emerged in the mid-1990s in reference to cancer studies spanning basic science and clinical research. Over the last two decades, the definition of translational research has broadened and evolved through continuous analysis, debate and reinterpretation.