By Mark Paskanik
Laboratory owners are constantly challenged to create new research environments with limited budgets and few resources. In addition, consideration must be given to the “triple bottom line” (people, planet and profit) within these strict budgetary constraints. Cost-conscious owners want facilities to meet their vision and business objectives while also including flexibility, efficiency, safety and robust utility/engineering systems. Early in the process, strategies can be used that have no financial impact on the project. These strategies come from the lab planner’s previous design experience and include options specific to the current project. Along with these strategies, incorporating initial and ongoing dashboards facilitates making informed decisions from the planning phase all the way through occupancy.
Laboratory projects can be extremely challenging and require a very thorough analysis. How do we as designers use our knowledge of past projects to work with clients to create their vision? In many cases, a high-level visioning process can be used in combination with practical approaches to create that vision in a day. With careful advanced planning and use of very interactive and visual tools, the process itself can build consensus and be fun for the groups involved.