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Connecting Today’s Lab Planners to Tomorrow’s Possibilities

Focus Area Lab Planning

Students wearing laboratory coats and protective goggles look at equipment inside a transparent glass-walled lab space.

Laboratory facilities are among the most intricate and complex projects to design - and among the most essential for our society.

The fundamental role of a laboratory is to support experimental or analytical activities, whether pharmaceutical quality control, aerospace R&D or university STEM education. Lab space requirements can be wildly diverse, but common to all successful labs at every level and every type are effective interactions between people, equipment and the physical environment, producing repeatable, predictable and verifiable results. Even in highly automated environments, people are at the center of laboratory design.

The stakes for laboratory design are high. Labs are among the most expensive and energy-intensive spaces built today due to the imperative to be innovative and productive, but they must be safe, adaptable and make best use of available funding. There is often tremendous pressure on project budgets and speed of delivery is also often critical. Planning effective and efficient lab projects – of all kinds – requires a team that understands the nature of the scientific or educational pursuit.

Our lab planning teams are led by expert individuals who are immersed in the requirements of the science and engineering disciplines. They excel at communicating within that culture and at building consensus on complex projects with multiple stakeholders – from decision-makers who are focused on institutional goals and budgets to end users with detailed criteria for their work spaces and laboratories, to facility managers responsible for building safety, operations, durability, and maintenance.

Services

  • Academic
  • Architecture
  • Civic / Government
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Interiors
  • Lab Design / Planning
  • Strategies / Analytics
  • Science / Technology
A lone student performs an experiment in a new lab with floor to ceiling windows and bright lighting.
© Peter Molick 2019

Process

We’ve refined our expertise on demanding global projects over two-plus decades, both as part of full-service Page project teams and as consultants. Our highly developed programming process is thorough and efficient, utilizing interactive workshop sessions as well as extensive data-gathering and benchmarking structured around clients’ unique needs. This critical part of the facility design process identifies relevant issues and delivers thorough documentation early on.

A stock photograph shows a translucent marker board with notes on it next to a sink in a laboratory.
© Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Biosafety

Our designs incorporate the latest safety practices that allow facilities to protect users, allowing them to operate in challenging process environments within safe and secure buildings. We select interior finishes that withstand decades of abuse, particularly helpful in academic settings such as the University of Oklahoma Biomedical Engineering Research and Teaching Building, and that facilitate a calm environment using sensory functionality in acoustics, lighting and environmental control in support of continuous operations.

A woman walks past a window in a hallway that reveals the interior of a contained biosafety laboratory.
© Wild Combination LLC, Jacob Krupnick

We listen carefully during our planning process. When planning a facility with multiple bio-containment laboratories in addition to clinical and diagnostic labs, facility users were surprised by how much relevant input was contributed by janitorial and maintenance staff. The Page project team, through listening, identified a key resource the client had overlooked.

Human-centered design

Human-centered design is a framework that recognizes humans are not all created exactly the same. It supports a process focused on empathy and inclusion of all. It reorients exploration into the human condition, allowing designers to refine, or simplify, designs so they are accessible for all users through the ideological constructs of “abstraction” and “average”. This was a key approach in the Gallaudet University multidisciplinary science lab renovation. The building architect was Studio Twenty Seven Architecture.

A scientist in a lab coat performs an experiment on the counter of a laboratory.
© Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Adapting to underdeveloped regions

Page has planned laboratories in remote parts of the world, often for underdeveloped countries with limited resources. While high-performance building construction techniques can easily be taught to local workers, developing simple, yet effective mechanical systems that local technicians can maintain is not as easy.

The exterior of a colorful building.
© Wild Combination LLC, Jacob Krupnick

Working closely with locals on a Caribbean island to identify the types of mechanical systems available, Page engineers were able to develop simple solutions to meet closely regulated temperature and humidity requirements necessitated by the high volume of air exchanges for one-pass laboratory air in the Barbados National Medical Reference Laboratory. Page served as architect of record on this project.

By the numbers

  • 1+ mil GROSS SQUARE FEET OF LAB SPACE PLANNED ANNUALLY
  • >50% PERCENTAGE OF LAB PLANNING TEAM WITH INTERNATIONAL ORIGINS; MULTILINGUAL
  • 6 BS2L AND BS3L LABORATORIES DESIGNED

“Baylor College of Medicine can deliver lab projects on budget and on schedule when using Page as our design team. Contractors are able to remove overhead and contingencies when bidding Page-designed projects, resulting in lower construction costs. RFIs and change orders on Page-designed projects for BCM are extremely rare, resulting in fewer delays and lower overall costs.”

Rock D. Morille

Vice President of Facilities, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Gallaudet University Multidisciplinary Science Lab Renovation
Awards

  • Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) Merit Award For Excellence In Architecture For Building Additions, Renovation Or Adaptive Reuse

University of Connecticut Health Center, Cell and Genome Sciences Building
Awards

  • R&D (Research & Design) Magazine 'Renovated Laboratory of the Year' Award

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