Story

Partnering to Create Visionary Research and Learning Facilities

Focus Area Collaborative Lab Design

Two students look at small robotics in a clear display case that shows a maker space lab behind it.

Partnering with other leading architects is central to our lab planning practice

To create a great science or technology building it's necessary to understand how these culturally essential spaces work – how they mix sophisticated technology and hands-on experiential practices and how supporting systems are critical to their function. Good lab design and good architecture cannot be separated. Effective laboratory facilities for research and learning have requirements that drive many aspects of a holistic building design.

Our lab planning experts founded their practice as consultants to leading architects across the country. Page continues to support quality architectural partners and peers in our industry who appreciate the value of a collaborative approach towards creating a seamless vision of the science and technology culture and the greater community the building serves.

Page’s lab planning for academic buildings has spanned all disciplines and led to design solutions that are unique to each place and responsive to both research and evolving pedagogic demands. Although we are integral to Page, we have benefited from our partnerships with other outstanding architects and are proud of the work we have achieved and continue to achieve through their unique perspectives. We learn together as a community and we are all stronger and smarter for it.

Services

  • Academic
  • Lab Design / Planning
  • Architecture

Process

Page’s lab planning team is founded on experience in research and learning spaces that extends to all levels of academia and industry. Our subject matter expertise leads to effective communication and exchange of ideas in areas that can seem almost mystical to those outside of the science and technology culture. We have always emphasized the importance of a rigorous programming and planning process based on solid fact-finding – a process that leads to smart institutional decision-making and responsive facility designs.

Exterior of building with glass bottom level and seamed metal elevations.
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

The value of partnerships

Page’s lab planning team has worked with many award-winning architectural firms across the United States to create facilities that perform for users. The building design process for any institution is ultimately intended to support a complex community of users, often with competing demands. Successful design outcomes start with a team approach that utilizes all available resources. Page lab planners have been an integral part of many highly successful teams that are structured to meet specific owner needs and circumstances.

Group of lab students engaging with each other around an
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

Active learning spaces

The development of many learning spaces for colleges and universities that have advanced the effectiveness of the learning environment have been guided by Page’s lab planning team. These facilities consist of carefully considered rooms that work in concert to create learning communities. When integrating new types of active learning spaces and studio classrooms with a variety of informal learning possibilities, the whole is always greater than just the sum of the parts. Creating immersive, exciting environments that compel participation and inclusion is a fundamental goal of our approach.

Students in an environmental research lab monitor conditions as a professor looks on.
© Lincoln Barbour – www.lincolnbarbour.com
Students gather environmental samples from a pond.
© Lincoln Barbour – www.lincolnbarbour.com

Evolved engineering spaces

Perhaps the type of space that has undergone the biggest change in the past decade has been engineering facilities. These have become among the most dynamic of space types for both research and learning and have a fundamental underpinning for the future of our innovation economy. Spaces for engineering research and development have evolved with the convergence of the science and technology disciplines. Engineering labs have become more nimble, with new tools and methods, including spaces for nanotechnology and optics, prototyping and even biotechnology.

Engineering students work on a robotics project.
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

Next generation maker spaces

Maker spaces have become almost ubiquitous as technology tools have become digitized and the fields experiencing rapid innovation have broadened. Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, has changed what’s possible and created a dynamic blend of traditional analog tools, new digitally controlled tools and an evolving capability for advanced additive manufacturing. Our team has presented multiple papers and posters at MIT’s ISAM, the International Symposium for Academic Makerspaces including the emergence of bio-maker spaces as part of that landscape. Page has participated in the cultural shift in thinking about how our field innovates.

Students in a maker space engage in discussion.
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

Human centered design

Students in a common space with a variety of seating types and flat work surfaces of varying heights.
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics
  • Historic lab spaces Lab spaces historically were about accomplishing a task or experiment in a space equipped for unusual materials or methods. But the importance of designing these spaces around people has always been essential to successful scientific practice.
  • Designing for people not process Even in the most technical spaces, such as optical clean rooms or high-end microscopy labs, the product and the motivating factors are fundamentally human. Our labs recognize that we are designing spaces in the service of humans and it is humans that are using the tools in the lab to produce insight and innovation.
  • Providing options Studies have shown that people gravitate to workspaces that offer variety in seating types as well as flat work space heights. This type of accommodation provides choice, which is appealing to human nature, and ensures optimal fit for more users.

Credits

Page designed laboratory spaces for the projects depicted here in collaboration with the following prime architects:

  1. Virginia Tech Goodwin Hall / ZGF Architects
  2. Wentworth Institute of Technology Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Sciences / Leers Weinzapfel Associates
  3. Virginia Wesleyan University Greer Environmental Science Center / VMDO Architects

“Our laboratory design team works hard to develop state-of-the-art science labs that meet the needs of our clients. We take a problem-solving approach to laboratory planning, integrating technically complex requirements with an aesthetic of elegance and a dedication to quality, flexibility and sustainability. ”

Malena Aquino AIA

Page Principal / Senior Lab Planner

Gallaudet University Multidisciplinary Science Lab Renovation
Awards

  • SCUP (Society for College and University Planning) 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

Shenandoah University Health & Life Sciences Building
Awards

  • Learning By Design Outstanding Projects - College/University New Construction

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