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...
Providing design services to a diverse set of scientific clients comes with specific challenges. Not only are their scientific needs unique, so are their organizational styles. Engaging a client in the design process requires sensitivity to how the client communicates, manages information and makes decisions.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, American architects and urban reformers helped defeat cholera, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases by improving buildings, neighborhoods and water systems. Today’s designers can help combat the biggest public health epidemic of our time: obesity and its related chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Resiliency in design, defined briefly as the ability to quickly recover from disruption, has become a foremost consideration for clients looking to mitigate risk and a changing climate. This is especially of concern in urbanized areas where potentially overlapping disasters can cause catastrophic results, including loss of life and property damage.
Windows are an invaluable architectural feature to lab design. They provide daylight and views to the exterior. Many studies support the benefits of windows on occupant mood and productivity. However, windows are five to eight times less resistant to heat transfer than a solid wall, and while the insulative values for windows are improving, they still pale in comparison to those for a solid wall.
Lean. Six Sigma. Spaghetti Diagrams. Kaizen. Paper dolls. All lean concepts. You may have heard these phrases within your organization. Have you wondered whether the same philosophy that drives your internal organization to strive for effective, efficient operations can be applied to the design process? If you are embarking on a new lab building, or renovating an existing lab, you can harness the power of lean tools to your advantage.
One of the most notable trends in lab vacuum technology is the movement away from central vacuum supply in new science buildings. This trend is consistent with owners’ objectives to have facilities that are adaptable as science changes, as budgets rise and fall and programs respond.
With any lab environment, lab designers are concerned about hazards and chemicals, and plan the safest lab they can for the given science conducted. The biggest job is to keep these hazards and chemicals away from the staff, which can be done in multiple ways. One way, and probably the most common, is fume hoods.
Over the past 10 to 15 years, the lab design industry has seen buildings designed more around environmental issues. Lab designers/planners have risen to the call to provide more efficient buildings, while being better stewards of resources.
The ideal scenario for a lab design team is predictability. Knowing precisely what the capital equipment requirements are and who the lab users will be, then developing a design, budget and schedule based on this information, is beneficial in reducing risk.
There have been many famous collaborations that have led to breakthroughs and revolutions that have changed the course of history: The Manhattan Project brought us the atomic age; Crick, Wilkins and Watson cracked the code of life; and Larry Page and Sergey Brin brought us Google.
When the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s system of national labs was formed, the U.S. was deep in the Cold War. Competition with the Soviets permeated scientific research, most famously in the space program and chemical weaponry, and the country was paralyzed with fear secrets would be leaked.
With a majority of labs still focused on “wet” research, fume hoods are an important safety equipment staple. By definition, fume hoods are local ventilation devices designed to limit exposure to hazardous or toxic fumes in lab settings. And, for years, vendors have advanced the technology further and advertised these standard safety devices as energy-efficient devices.
Research environments are complex spaces that require a significant amount of lab planning to satisfy the researchers’ needs within that facility. The lab spaces not only need to provide the flexibility and intimacy researchers are seeking, but also accommodate highly specialized equipment specific to their kind of research.
Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), which is part of the Univ. of Utah Health Care system, will open its fourth building in mid-2017. Named after its focus on families’ and children’s cancers, it’s an expansion of the existing research building and will effectively double the current research space, adding 220,000 sf.
Two of the biggest issues faced in the lab design industry are arguably budgets and funding. With a slow resurgence from the recent recession, funding from the NIH and NSF has decreased for lab construction, operation and research. And with this trend, many organizations look to renovations instead of new builds for their needs.