This month's issue of Laboratory Design Newsletter features articles on commissioning labs for energy savings, next-generation engineering labs, fast-track project delivery, incubator lab design, fire alarms in animal facilities, forensic lab design and more. The issue also includes news notes, new products and new projects.
The process of scientific investigation—in the simplest of terms—is one of trial-and-error....
Not long ago a prospective client called and asked if it would be feasible to incorporate a...
Partnerships between universities and businesses are nothing new, but these partnerships have...
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. These days, most lab clients are looking for sustainable design approaches at a minimum—and third-party certification, such as LEED, in many cases.
Simulation centers are often located in the basement or unused space of hospitals, universities and research centers. In some cases, they are a facilities best-kept secret, as they provide a wealth of learning and activities to prep workers for real-world situations. Most are also architecturally nondescript.
The increased pressure for undergraduates to gain research experience prior to graduate school has led to more students requesting participation in a lab environment throughout their undergraduate career. Undergraduate institutions are now faced with the challenge of finding an environment where faculty can succeed in their individual research endeavors, as well as teach these future scientists in their research labs.
In the past decade, the expansion of research focus areas in engineering has undergone a transformation. The demands of engineering labs present challenges for institutions because most occupied spaces were conceived during an era with radically different needs and required services.
Compared to industrial and residential construction, labs are expensive as they are highly complex in nature. The end goal to constructing a functional lab is to provide valuable research results. At the heart of a lab is the research conducted and, as a result, lab owners can’t compromise research efforts by overlooking key aspects of the workspace—such as safety, comfort and sustainability.
Much equipment used in nanotech, physical and biological sciences can’t function properly if subjected to vibrations that exceed small threshold values. As a result, lab designers are faced with the challenge of developing designs where vibration disturbances are within acceptable limits to further science.
Translational research is a paradigm for research designed to enable innovative thinking by leveraging the benefits of collaboration. First emerging in the mid-1990s in reference to cancer studies spanning basic science, over the past two decades the definition has broadened and evolved.
A well-designed lab facility will deliver a powerful combination of safety, functionality, efficiency and responsible use of resources. Most owners strive to achieve these goals in any new lab project or major renovation or addition. Performance can be documented by commissioning: third-party testing of the facility’s major mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems before a new or renovated project is turned over to the owner.
In the past decade, the breadth of research focus areas within engineering has undergone a monumental transformation and expansion. Payette has investigated these transitions at many levels—from small-scale highly technical research lab designs to multiple institutional master plans.
When done right, fast-track construction delivery methods can bring enormous benefits to the owner and the entire project team. They can significantly reduce the overall project design and construction schedule. Poor execution of a fast-track project will most certainly lead to problems, cost overruns, adversarial relationships and schedule delays.
Flexibility is critical when considering the future of science, research and lab environments. However, research needs down the road are difficult to predict, and flexibility is hard to define. Yet, reducing a facility’s flexibility may mean the loss of spare engineering capacities/infrastructures, services planning and space for anticipated growth and fit-out.
Research science startups face similar decisions and crises any new business venture might. The volatile marketplace demand for breakthrough research and the rigors of nurturing a new business make early-stage decisions crucial, even perilous. The startup’s first dedicated research lab represents a major investment of capital, and to invest wisely, leadership should ask itself a few fundamental questions.
Creating an environment for optimizing the control of outside factors in vivarium facilities is critical to the success of reliable research outcomes. Animal responses are directly impacted by their environments—by air, access to food and water, light cycles and noise. Acoustic separation to isolate animal areas from noise and minimizing intrusive sounds into animal-occupied spaces is desired.
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 to be more open and not just meant for one discipline—today, biologists may work next to chemists, or chemists work alongside physicists, and so on.
The Midwest can boast of a new 60,000-sf crime lab (which shall remain unnamed). Designed by Crime Lab Design (CLD), this facility has been a long time coming, and is a good reminder of the virtue of patience. Even in good economic times, the facility would’ve faced two significant challenges to begin with: First, justifying the project to a wary state government; and second, securing funding from that government.
Phoenix Controls offers a flexible integration architecture that enables facility staff and management to easily monitor the health of their lab equipment. Based on real-time diagnostics from intelligent airflow valve controllers, staff can quickly make informed decisions to ensure safety, while reducing energy costs.
Mott Manufacturing’s adaptable Optima fume hood allows for personalized ergonomics and changing lab processes. It’s designed to meet demanding safety standards within lab environments. With its sleek and stylish design, the Optima fume hood brings versatility to a new level. The fume hood features a push-button height-adjustable worksurface that improves ergonomics and accommodates persons with disabilities.
Labconco has introduced the energy-efficient Protector Echo Filtered Fume Hood that operates without removing tempered air from the lab and independent of the building’s exhaust system. The Echo offers features unavailable with other ductless, filtered hoods. Erlab’s Neutrodine filters are the main filtration component of the Protector Echo.
HEMCO Corp.’s emergency shower/decontamination booths are fully assembled and ready for installation to water supply and waste systems. The shower is molded in a one-piece seamless chemical-resistant fiberglass. It’s equipped with a pull rod-activated shower and push handle eye/face wash for immediately drenching of personnel who have been exposed to hazardous chemicals.
The VHCpro vacuum hand controller from Vacuubrand provides touch control of vacuum supplied by bench turrets. Common practice of leaving vacuum ports open during liquid aspiration applications permits air entry to the vacuum system and reduces vacuum available to other users. With the VHCpro, the user simply mounts a pipet or pipette tip to the controller and touches the control lever to aspirate.
Air Science USA’s Purair SKY ceiling-mounted filtration units are designed to protect lab personnel and the environment in areas where hazardous substances are handled. Central to the design of the Purair SKY series is the Air Science EFT Enhanced Filtration Technology, developed to ensure universal protection in the work environment over a wide range of applications within the industry.
E+E Elektronik’s EE150 humidity and temperature transmitter has been optimized for use in the HVAC and building technology sectors. The IP65/NEMA 4 enclosure provides optimal protection of the electronics and the capacitive E+E humidity sensor element guarantees long-term stable measurement results.
The U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, dedicated the world’s most advanced light source, the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in February. Designed by HDR, the facility generates some of the brightest beams in the world used for research in energy, environmental science and medicine.
Perkins Eastman recently joined Winthrop-Univ. Hospital in a ribbon cutting celebration to mark the grand opening of the new Research and Academic Center. Designed by Perkins Eastman, the 95,000-sf translational research and academic facility will foster state-of-the-art research in the treatment and prevention of pediatric and adult diabetes in collaboration with patient care and community education.
Perkins+Will’s Campus Planning Director Brodie Bain, Design Director Robert Goodwin and Principal Bill Schmalz have been appointed Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA’s Fellowship recognizes members who have made significant contributions to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.
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