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Practical and Poetic - The Sociology of Science

Jeff Salocks and Chris Leary, The Stubbins Associates


As designers we value the practicality, creative atmosphere, and social interaction of a loft studio. These spaces fulfill our practical needs, inspire our work, and facilitate an image and a lifestyle. While scientists and designers and lofts and laboratories may seem quite different at first glance, they are both practical and inspiring spaces to create through a mysterious process of hard work, long hours, and discovery.

Successful laboratory design addresses both the definable practical requirements and more intangible amenities. By creating environments that foster community and which provide for the humanistic qualities we evoke the social essence critical to scientific ingenuity.


Through a series of project case studies we will share examples of these planning ideas including:

  • Spaces that encourage and facilitate social interactions that encourage serendipitous exchange and discovery
  • Comfortable and inspirational laboratory spaces
  • Spaces that attract high caliber talent with amenities and atmosphere
  • Creating places in which highly intelligent, highly trained, and highly paid staff could happily do their best and most productive work.

Labs21 Connection:

A healthy environment is one that provides for all the senses and the mind alike. The best outcome of designing "green" is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Jeff Salocks, AIA, 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.

Chris Leary, AIA, has led design teams for many of the firm's large-scale projects since joining The Stubbins Associates in 1992, including laboratory and research facilities for the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research, Boston University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His particular interest is in the area of Building Performance and Sustainable Design. He is an experienced speaker on the subject, and has participated in several conferences. In addition, he leads TSA's Sustainable Design Group.

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