Modernization

  • Measuring the Human Factor Value in Academic STEM Facilities

    How Design Trends for Modern Science Buildings Enhance the Occupant Experience

    Published 9-30-2020

    As the landscape for academic institutions grows more competitive, determining how human factors impact the design of STEM facilities is becoming a significant consideration when it comes to attracting students and research faculty. As a result, team members at Francis Cauffman Architects are developing a set of metrics to identify and assess the value of design features that influence occupant experience in academic STEM spaces with the goal of creating an index that can be used to inform future renovation and new construction projects. Human factor points are allocated to spaces and design features that have a demonstrated positive impact on student enrollment, result in high levels of user satisfaction, and accommodate the teaching and research goals of the facility. In a post-COVID world, this additional evaluation tool may be more important than ever.

  • Designing Facilities for Long-Term Adaptability

    Strategies that Accommodate Major Changes—Even Mid-Construction

    Published 7-15-2020

    Change is inevitable over the life of a research facility, but modular design and careful attention to utilities—for both adaptability and flexibility—can minimize disruptions and future-proof infrastructure. Enrollment growth at major research institutions is outpacing available space to support the research activities. In addition, programs and buildings are now more technically complex than those built decades ago, with unique requirements, such as animal facilities, cage-washing capability, greenhouse space, and open laboratories. “We are not designing every single space, every single outlet, for a single investigator,” says Timothy Reynolds, a principal with TreanorHL Science & Technology. “We are designing it for investigators that are going to be here 25 years from now. We don’t want to go down the road to find that the facilities that we design today, that are still in operation in 50 years, can’t be modified.” These principles are even more important now, given the challenges university faculty members, staff, and students face in the current pandemic. The use of modular planning, moveable furniture systems and laboratory casework, and flexible infrastructure can allow for the rapid changes called for today. A space in one of TreanorHL’s recent facilities, for example, has been converted to a sterile compounding lab to produce a solution for COVID-19 testing.