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Designing Teaching Laboratories and their Comparison with Research Laboratories

Jeff Salocks, The Stubbins Associates, Inc. and
Punit Jain, Cannon Design


The pedagogy of Teaching Laboratories includes both instruction and experimentation. The experimental component of a teaching laboratory is what differentiates it from a conventional classroom. Take away the instructional component and the space becomes a research laboratory, totally dedicated to experimentation. Depending on the nature of the subject being taught from General Physics to Organic Chemistry, dry lab or wet lab, the design of such a facility can be very different. With such potential variety there lies a range of issues and challenges to be resolved.

There is almost always the desire for ultimate flexibility in capabilities to accomplish the mission of science education. Instructional laboratories must balance experimental need and curriculum delivery very carefully. The increasing cost of energy and the potential environmental impacts of laboratory facilities are critical factors in the equation of resource allocation. We believe that teaching laboratories can be flexible, energy efficient and deliver the needs of science education. Identifying the relevant issues of educational laboratories is one of the first steps towards achieving this goal.

In order to better understand the attributes of teaching labs and describe the differences or similarities with research laboratories we have created a comparative matrix. The intention is to provide faculty, administrators, designers and all the other concerned constituencies with an analytical summary of characteristics for consideration. This précis examination includes aspects such as Program, Risks & Safety Measures, Fume Hood Use as well as nine other factors. This presentation will review the matrix in its entirety along with example images to emphasize certain aspects. Architects Jeff Salocks from The Stubbins Associates and Punit Jain from Cannon Design will guide the presentation.


Jeff Salocks has over 20 years of experience as an architect and designer specializing in the programming, planning and design of laboratory and research facilities for universities, institutional, healthcare and corporate clients. At present he is the Director of Laboratory and Research Facilities at The Stubbins Associates in Cambridge Massachusetts and has recently designed new research facilities for the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research and Elixir Pharmaceuticals. He has also programmed and/or designed new laboratory facilities for academic institutions such as Brown University and Dartmouth College. Mr. Salocks holds a BArch degree from Pratt Institute and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. He speaks frequently on the subject of laboratory design for such national organizations as SCUP, Project Kaleidoscope, National Council of Research Administrators and Society of Research Administrators.

Punit Jain received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Roorkee in India. He also holds a Master of Architecture degree and a Masters in Construction Management from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. With over ten years of experience in the practice of architecture, Mr. Jain is currently employed as a Senior Associate with Cannon Design, an international architectural, engineering and interior design firm. As a lead member of the team dedicated to researching technological and industry innovation in the field of science and research buildings, he is involved in the design, research and planning of complex assignments.

He is currently working on the master planning study for a new $70 million Biomedical Research building at Saint Louis University, The Kinesiology Research Center at University of Calgary, and the Biomedical Research Development Complex Project at IIT Chicago. His other project experience includes the New Mexico Highlands University Science and Technology Building in Las Vegas, NM; the Advanced Technology Center at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, FL; the University of Kentucky Health Sciences Medical Research Building in Lexington, KY; and the Master Plan and implementation of the renovation of teaching and research laboratories at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, MO.

A Rotary Foundation Scholar and winner of honor awards from the National Institute of Architectural Education, New York and the American Institute of Architects, he is an active member of the St. Louis chapter of USGBC. Mr. Jain also teaches a college course in computer graphic applications and has been instrumental in developing Cannon Design's computer-based systems for laboratory and healthcare facilities design.

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