As a building type, labs have historically been the most energy-intensive facilities. This poses a tremendous challenge when designing lab buildings as net-zero energy consumers. A few prototype lab projects with net-zero energy intent do exist, usually with unique conditions of light lab programs and/or favorable climates.
The competitiveness of U.S. high-technology manufacturing in the global marketplace has become...
I recently returned from a trade show where a number of manufacturers showed me their high-...
Univ. of the Pacific recently completed renovations on a 395,000-sf, seven-story building...
Community leaders and politicians joined Morgan State Univ. (MSU) staff and faculty to break ground on the HOK-designed Martin D. Jenkins Behavioral and Social Sciences Center (BSSC) in Baltimore. The 148,000-sf facility is part of MSU’s West Campus Expansion Initiative and is scheduled for summer 2017 completion.
The landscape of lab design is rapidly changing, and labs themselves have changed drastically over the past few years. For instance, laptops and large monitors that facilitate spontaneous meetings and discussions are now in most labs. With the onset of lab design, before computers, the focus was on benches, fume hoods and workstations. But the way researchers work in labs has changed with the advent of the computer.
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. Researchers test proof-of-concept and then reposition their focus based on data. The idea is to fail quickly, to get to the desired result sooner. The design process is similarly iterative. Solving for user’s needs and anticipating challenges often requires a search and discovery approach to the built environment.
Not long ago a prospective client called and asked if it would be feasible to incorporate a state-of-the-art, full-body research magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite into a new building. After a review of the finished building plans, we quickly determined not only was the building design not ideal for MRI use, but it would be impossible without extensive and expensive design changes.
Partnerships between universities and businesses are nothing new, but these partnerships have become especially relevant in the face of increasing economic pressure and global competition, the need for interdisciplinary approaches and the growing complexity of the problems need solutions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Daniel Niewoehner, AIA, has joined HOK’s Science + Technology practice as vice president and regional practice leader in Chicago. An established industry leader with 20 years of experience planning and programming labs, Niewoehner has worked on more than six million square feet of projects throughout North America, the Middle East and Asia.
Page has announced the acquisition of noted East Coast firm Strategic Science & Technology (SST) Planners, a lab planning and design consulting firm in northern Virginia, to expand their lab planning capabilities. Chris Cowansage, Malena Aquino, David McCullough and their design teams will continue to support their many architectural and institutional clients with quality personalized services.
David Bendet, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has joined HDR as West Region Science & Technology Director and Vice President. Based in San Francisco he serves as S&T practice leader for that office, as well as LA, Phoenix and Seattle and other regional offices, overseeing the business strategy, growth and development of the program across the West, while also directing and managing significant projects for the firm.
SmithGroupJJR has named Mark Patterson as leader of its Health Practice. He succeeds Jim Hannon, who transitions back into practice as a senior strategic health planner at the firm’s San Francisco office. In his new role, Patterson heads the firm’s international practice devoted to the design of health facilities.
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