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...
When people think of labs, they typically imagine the traditional wet lab: high benches arranged in orderly rows, stocked with beakers and test tubes, with sinks and heavy equipment within arm’s reach. But now, as big data and computation change the nature of discovery and processes for research, it’s time to holistically rethink the configuration of the lab environment.
There are many ways to design a sustainable lab, but the success depends on how a researcher gives meaning to the word “sustainable.” For some, sustainable can mean installing green equipment that minimizes the carbon footprint that humans leave. To others, everything must be LEED certified. While for the rest, sustainability simply means reducing operating costs.
We are at a unique moment in the world’s scientific enterprise; our collective knowledge base, coupled with new technological capabilities and a robust coordinated and focused funding stream, is supporting significant advances in our understanding of how the human brain works.
A first priority of a lab is the ability to complete scientific research. To put it another way: The lab must allow the work to be done safely; it must meet the basic physical parameters needed, contain the equipment, accommodate the researchers and even provide a comfortable and attractive space in which to operate.
Laboratories are notorious for their extraordinary energy consumption, often using six to 10 times the amount of energy of a normal office facility. As more and more attention is given to reduce lab energy use, it becomes increasingly more important to understand the energy drivers in labs to better target energy-conservation measures and improve occupant behaviors.
The planning of research spaces is driven by the type of client and institution, and its users. The majority of public/ government agencies, academic and research institutions have well-established standards and requirements architects can use in the planning process. On the other hand, private and independent research entities might rely on architects to guide them through the process, and even assist in establishing standards.
The developers of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) describe their project as “a new and liberating lab typology that promotes collaboration and medical discovery, attracting the best researchers from around the world.” With design by global design and consulting firm Woods Bagot, SAHMRI was the first project completed within the new South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct.
On September 19, 2014, the Smithsonian Institution opened the doors of its greenest building to date: The Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory on the campus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, Md. Designed to be the first LEED-Platinum building for the institution, the Mathias Lab demonstrates a renewed commitment by the Smithsonian and the U.S. Congress to invest in crucial environmental research.
Can a high containment lab have windows? Can the traditional model of a high containment lab be turned inside out? Can a high containment facility offer better life quality? The answer to all these questions is yes. Home to three international reference labs for 10 exotic viral diseases of livestock, The Pirbright Institute focuses on virology and, specifically, animal health, including zoonotic diseases.
In their 49th year, the Laboratory of the Year Awards continue to recognize excellence in research lab design, planning and construction. Judging for 2015’s competition took place on Thursday, February 19th, and was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of lab architects, engineers, equipment manufacturers, researchers and the editors of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design Newsletter.
Each year, many entries are entered into R&D Magazine’s Laboratory of the Year competition; but only a select few win. However, each entry exhibits trends in modern lab design. From flexibility to sustainability to collaboration, these trends showcase the best design options for lab facilities today and the future.
In “Modern trends in lab design” I’ve covered the latest trends in labs today. But what do architects foresee of future lab designs? And what issues still need to be addressed to make labs better for researchers and their research?
It’s easy to focus on the positive trends within lab design. The industry is full of buzzwords such as energy efficiency, sustainability, resiliency and collaboration. All these buzzwords truly are positive in building design and can lead to amazing and sexy architectural structures. However, not everything is positive in the industry.
Many new materials are entering the marketplace as a result of technology advancements. And, with the growing concern of sustainability and resiliency, lab clients are much more sensitive to the use of sustainable materials within their lab environments. From casework, to flooring, to the use of glass, the lab landscape is changing.
The goal of any lab planner is to make labs as safe, functional and comfortable as possible. And one of the larger issues in regards to researchers’ comfort is lighting. However, not only is lighting a comfort issue in labs, but it’s also a sustainability issue.