Space Use

Expediting Laboratory Design Within a Changing Environment

Early Involvement of the Entire Team is More Critical Now than Ever

Published 9-16-2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the need for the research community to respond quickly to changing markets and to understand the value of laboratory spaces that are flexible, adaptable, and scalable. We’ve seen stadiums converted to makeshift hospitals, “drive-through” testing sites pop up in vacant parking lots, and testing laboratories continually ramp up production to expedite results. This quick-thinking behavior has been inspiring to witness but daunting to execute. Laboratories, by nature, are among the most complex building typologies, where the utmost importance is protecting both the health and safety of their occupants and the integrity of the research. The complexities of the resulting design can be challenging to undertake, but when faced with the extreme circumstances of a pandemic, it is possible to expedite the process with a combination of strategies.

Employing Intelligent Building Design and IoT to Maintain Environmental Safety and Confidence in Facilities

Adapting Existing Technology to Function During and After the Pandemic

Published 7-22-2020

Building automation systems (BAS), computerized maintenance management systems, data analytics software, and human motion modeling software are being reimagined to allow people to safely occupy their workspaces during the COVID-19 pandemic, by collecting data in new ways and sharing it like never before. Data can be made available on dashboards and mobile devices to inform the countless decisions occupants make in the course of their workday—including choosing a route to their office, an elevator, a desk, or a restroom—all with the lens of maintaining social distances and maximizing sanitation.

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.