Space Use

Integrating 21st Century Specialized cGMP Labs into Challenging, Outdated Spaces

Evolving Technologies and Meticulous Planning Help Overcome Infrastructure Obstacles

Published 4-19-2023

Repurposing non-research facilities to house specialized life sciences and therapeutics labs is a growing trend sparked by real estate inventory and the fiscal practicality of renovation rather than new construction. The vacancy rate throughout the United States for lab space in the fourth quarter of 2022 was 6 percent versus 19.5 percent for office space, according to the Jones Lang LaSalle real estate transparency index. The vacancy rates for 2021 were less than 4 percent for labs and approximately 15 percent for offices.

High-Rise Labs in Urban Settings Present Both Advantages and Challenges

Key Considerations: Hazardous Material Movement, Infrastructure Stability, and Utility Density

Published 4-19-2023

Life science laboratories are increasingly embracing the idea of moving into high-rise settings in city centers, filling space in new construction, or renovating office space left vacant, in part, by the many companies opting to continue to work from home following the pandemic. High-rise laboratories in urban settings offer many advantages related to recruiting top talent, the ease of city amenities, and abundant transportation options, says Matthew Decker, AIA, architect for CRB in Plymouth Meeting, Penn. But they also pose challenges, including strict building codes for hazardous materials, and infrastructure concerns that can affect placement of lab equipment, HVAC systems, and utilities.

Flexible Design for Higher Education Science and Engineering Facilities

Degrees of Flexibility Vary Among Laboratories and Classrooms

Published 3-15-2023

New teaching facilities for science and engineering stress flexibility and interdisciplinarity, but how much flexibility is appropriate? Michael Lauber, principal at Ellenzweig in Boston, cites three recent university-level projects at Michigan State University, University of Maine, and Rice University to demonstrate how to achieve varying levels of flexibility with lab infrastructure and casework, and how the floorplan can enable occupants to easily adapt their space to ever-changing pedagogical goals in multiple STEM disciplines.

Analyzing STEM Space Requirements in a Large University System

Data Helps North Carolina Balance STEM Facilities Across Regions

Published 3-1-2023

The North Carolina State Legislature often receives requests from its representatives for funding to construct new academic buildings at the state universities in their districts. Lately, it’s been all about STEM facilities. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs are predicted to increase faster than other kinds of positions in the 2020s, so some requests represent a legitimate response to the need for STEM graduates. But which universities truly need more space? To help them allocate funding sensibly, the University of North Carolina System Office commissioned a statewide study, using an innovative methodology balancing current utilization, building conditions, and future space needs.

Project Profile: Student Success District

The University of Arizona

Published 2-15-2023

The Student Success District is a ground-breaking addition to the University of Arizona’s urban fabric. The design strengthens connections between new and existing structures, activates underutilized spaces, and prioritizes the student experience. The complex project revitalizes the Main Library and the Bear Down Gymnasium, reorients the entry to the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library, and merges the buildings with a new 55,000-sf Center for Academic Success.

Active Learning, New Occupancy Models, and Collaborative Research Enhance Interdisciplinary Science

New Culture Removes Silos, Promotes Collaboration, and Improves Student Outcomes at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Published 2-1-2023

The University of Maryland in Baltimore County (UMBC) is surpassing expectations for student retention, faculty recruitment, and productivity by using active learning, pioneering research models, and new building occupancy criteria in its Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB). The 130,000-gsf building, which opened in 2019, provides 70,000 nasf of flexible research and education space to accommodate current and future students and faculty in the life sciences and biotechnology programs.

Groundbreaking Building at UMichigan Collocates Research Labs, Classrooms, and a Museum

Students and Visitors Can Observe Modern Research and Natural History Artifacts in New Biological Sciences Building

Published 1-18-2023

The University of Michigan has transformed the way science is conducted and communicated by integrating the Museum of Natural History into its uniquely designed $261 million Biological Sciences Building (BSB). The 312,000-sf building opened for classes in 2018, and the museum opened a year later, facilitating connections between university researchers and the community. More than 200,000 members of the public visited the museum within the first year, underscoring the university’s belief that science is a social, not merely transactional, interaction.

Top 10 Reports of 2022

Published 1-4-2023

2022 offered a glimpse of what the post-pandemic era might look like, with a redefinition of “workplace” in a hybrid setting; examining the benefits and challenges of renovation vs. new construction; and using data to drive complex facilities decisions. The following are the reports that Tradeline readers found most helpful in 2022, as they focused on strategic space planning in this shifting environment:

Best Design Concepts for Multi-Use, Flexible, Scalable Rodent Vivariums

Adaptable Spaces Accommodate Multiple Functions

Published 1-4-2023

Creating an efficient, productive, and safe rodent vivarium of any size begins by determining the current and future needs of both the researchers and the animal care staff. Collecting data from users throughout the process of new construction or renovation ensures the design aligns with their research, equipment requirements, utility specifications, and animal care needs. 

Optimize Space Planning by Measuring Lab Utilization and Productivity

Washington University School of Medicine Develops Method for Quantifying Researcher Performance and Space Use Efficiency

Published 12-14-2022

Data-driven tools that objectively measure the utilization and productivity of lab space can provide academic institutions with valuable insights for making key budget decisions about renovation, new construction, and allocation of existing resources. In 2018, space planners at Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis, Mo., set out to quantify the utilization of wet lab space as part of an effort to achieve ambitious growth and recruiting goals. The process led to the creation of a rolling five-year needs study with annual reporting of lab space utilization and researcher productivity using benchmarked performance metrics. The reporting tool now provides university administrators with accurate, objective data on a yearly basis that helps them better utilize existing resources, improve adjacencies, and validate the potential need for renovations and new construction.