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Life Sciences Buildings and Trends

Cheong Eng Gan and Liu Yang, National University of Singapore


New changes in services for the modern world require new types of buildings to house their production. In the design, construction and maintenance of these buildings, the issue of requirements continues to be the main consideration.

The proliferation of Life Sciences in the 21st century is claiming it to be the dominant science. Known as the science of life, Life Sciences is capable of bringing immense benefits to mankind. Results from Life Sciences research are being felt in increasing areas. These major developments have resulted in a global trend in developing the Life Sciences industry. As a result, more buildings and spaces for Life Sciences research will be constructed or renovated in response to surging enrollments in these studies.

A life science research building requires specialized construction and service elements to provide and create the right facility and environment for state of art operations. It houses specialized laboratories that are purposely constructed with customized environment and equipped with special facilities to facilitate high end investigation into the various aspects of biological life. As the Life Sciences building begin to emerge as a building type, people wonder what a Life Sciences building is and what kinds of facilities it should contain.

This paper is to initiate the study into this new type of building namely, life sciences buildings. It identifies emerging trends in Life Sciences buildings and their characteristics. It also examines the usage of space in these buildings.


Cheong Eng Gan has a B.Sc (Building) from the University of Singapore, a MBM from the Asian Institute of Management and a Phd from the National University of Singapore. He has worked in the construction industry as project consultant and tertiary institution as faculty member in Singapore and Asia. He has 25 years of research and industrial experience in large and specialized development projects.

Cheong Eng Gan is currently employed by the Department of Building, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore as Associate Professor. He leads the research group investigating on life cycle and costing of specialized buildings and elements. This group concentrates on new building technology and its applications. Current work in collaboration with professional and commercial organizations includes applications to high technology buildings and their performances.

Liu Yang has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of International Finance from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University and she is pursing a postgraduate research degree in M.Sc.(Building) in National University of Singapore (NUS) now. She has 5 years of work experience in project budgeting and management in Shanghai Hua Hong NEC electronics Co., Ltd and its predecessor Shanghai Hua Hong Microelectronics Co., Ltd. in cleanroom construction.

Miss Yang has been a research student in Dept. of Building, NUS for one year. Now she has completed her course study and is researching into the topic on life cycle costing for cleanrooms as her graduate thesis. From last October, she has been participating in an on-going research project: Life cycle costing of High Technology Building: Case of Life Science Research Building, which is sponsored by NUS, icfox (Singapore) and Davis Langdon & Seah.

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