Published July 17, 2015 on labdesignnews.com
In this month’s column for Lab Design News, we explore the ideal lab module and how to design for ideal conditions when renovating an existing building.
The lab module is the backbone to any lab space. It defines the parameters from the outset, and provides the armature for architects and lab planners for developing layouts based on user criteria. In new buildings, designers often have the freedom to influence the structural grid to achieve a desired module, allowing ultimate flexibility from the start. In existing buildings, designers are bound to the framework already in place, leaving us to work within those conditions, ie: “work with what we’ve got.” Initially it may not seem possible to achieve an appropriate sequencing of space. Though the existing structure may not resemble the ideal there are opportunities and strategies that allow renovations to perform on an equal or higher level than new construction.
The lab module should facilitate a flexible environment that supports innovation, and be adaptable to the idiosyncratic nature of research. It should allow the user full access to their work, and not impede progressive thought and experiment. Furthermore, the module should accommodate future space expansion and contraction in a specified manner. The lab module should help advance collaboration and stimulate interdisciplinary collegial relationships. A really great lab module provides support (literally) for alternative techniques and advanced processes while organizing complex groups of physical and analytical research components.
Regardless of which scenario designers encounter, the lab module must maintain critical spatial and dimensional relationships (such as aisle and bench spacing) in order to accommodate the most stringent type of research.
Read the full article.