Corporate and academic research institutions are shifting towards a more interdisciplinary model for designing new lab buildings, with the goal of accelerating discovery times and increasing innovation. This means creating more open, team-based laboratories, with shared equipment and collaboration areas that increase interaction between scientists from different disciplines while optimizing space and resources. Two recent case studies illustrating this approach include the new 840,000-sf Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, Mass., and a new 316,000-sf academic science facility at Towson University near Baltimore, Md. While one project is corporate and the other academic, much of the design and programming for both projects is focused around mapping out the research activities needed to get to the desired outcome.
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The new 100,000-sf AstraZeneca site in South San Francisco, located in the Cove at Oyster Point complex, is the company’s first facility where open offices and labs are seamlessly integrated with each other to promote increased mobility and interaction among the researchers. Housing around 400 employees, the building brings together staff from AstraZeneca’s Technology Innovation & Delivery Excellence (TIDE) unit, as well as subsidiaries MedImmune, Acerta Pharma, and Pearl Therapeutics into one state-of-the-art facility at the center of the Bay Area’s vibrant biotech and technology sector.
The University at Albany, State University of New York (UAlbany) has developed a rigorous new process for allocating space to improve utilization, decrease operating costs, and create more collaborative research environments capable of attracting high-quality researchers and students. The initiative was triggered in part by a growing influx of students and faculty and the creation of two new colleges—the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity; and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The new space allocation and management process helps reduce the role politics plays in decision-making and better aligns facility use with university goals. The basis for the process is an understanding that campus space is a valuable limited resource that should be strategically deployed to achieve specific measurable goals, just like staffing or capital.
Achieving Better Academic Space Utilization Through Strategic Relocation, Remodeling, and Demolition11-6-2019
The University of Missouri (MU) will eliminate 750,000 sf of education and general facilities space by 2023 in order to reduce costs and improve overall space quality and utilization. The initiative will allow the university to save approximately $153 million in deferred maintenance, capital renewal, and plant adaption costs, as well as about $5 million in annual operating costs. It’s an ambitious undertaking, considering that the 1,200-acre main campus in Columbia, Mo., has 7 million sf of education and general facility space spread across 185 major buildings. To meet the 10 percent reduction goal over the next four years, the university will strategically demolish, divest, relocate, and rebuild a data-driven selection of aging or under-utilized buildings.
Almost every field of endeavor has been supercharged in recent years by the advent of “big data”—the ability of computers to process and analyze large data sets to gather insights. The business of creating student spaces on campuses is no different. June Hanley and Scott Foral of HDR have used big data in several projects, and offer some wisdom on how to turn raw data into actionable results.
Churn—it’s the constant, costly reality of research space utilization, with a price tag that’s often underestimated. Also underestimated? The opportunity for organizations to realize cost savings, operational streamlining, and overall efficiencies amid the inevitable swapping of research teams and space during renovations and equipment relocations, asserts Mark Allen, AIA, architect and principal at Wilson HGA; and Jeanne MacLellan, principal of Dowling Houy. “Even with a client who’s in the midst of a renovation, we know that, in three to four years, they are going to be renovating again,” explains MacLellan. “We’re not eliminating churn and its inefficiencies; we’re maximizing options now that will minimize its impact down the road.”
Planning for the new Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital (JHACH) Research and Education Building in St. Petersburg, Fla., took place before all the building users were identified, and used strategies like identifying the business and design drivers to support collaboration, innovation, and communication. “The vision was to create a state-of-the-art space for pediatric health research and education, in a building that would draw people out of their offices and into the collaborative areas, to teach, work, and communicate,” says Roberta Alessi, executive vice president and chief operating officer at JHACH.
The Children’s Research Institute (CRI), the research arm of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., has seen its research programs expand, bringing the need to accommodate more staff and projects. A new innovation campus is in the works, but the move to the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center Campus will take four years to complete. The institute is therefore focusing on laboratory densification, both in the current space and the new campus.
The vast array of Internet of Things (IoT) technology on the market today can tempt facility planners to install the latest gadget just because it is available. IoT technology offers a variety of tools, such as sensors and software that can be added to furniture or other facility assets, to allow these assets to connect and exchange data using built-in wireless connectivity. But to what end? Brian Haines, vice president of strategy for FM:Systems, cautions planners to look beyond the allure of new technology and to carefully assess which sensor or combination of sensors will produce data that advances specific institutional goals or addresses immediate facility concerns.