Changing Laboratory Paradigms and Innovative Planning and Design
Charles L. (Chip) Calcagni,
AIA, and Paul Whitson,
AIA, DBCC architects p.c.
Lab design is changing. New goals and outcomes require a different
environment that challenges researchers and responds to the new
ways researchers are being called upon to provide results. Our presentation
will facilitate the continuous exchange of ideas between the end
users and the design team as the boundaries of current scientific
investigation is being pushed beyond the norm. Using three distinctly
different examples where innovative planning for beta facilities
resulted in the construction of laboratories that foster the free
and open exchange of ideas in a clinical environment, we demonstrate
approaches that support the next wave in the laboratory of the future.
Case Study 1: The changing paradigms of researchers and clinicians
and evolving technologies demand new planning strategies for the
lab of the 21st century. Three labs of the 20th century offer examples
of planning visions for innovation, flexibility and technology.
For the Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Science at St. Barnabas
Medical Center, an allusion to religious architecture provided a
model for working space that concentrates and organizes the equipment
and bench space required to do IVF work. The resulting "micro-chapels"
provide intimate workspaces for the embryologists in close proximity
to the procedure rooms, and can be assigned to coincide with the
Case Study 2: The novelty of the automated clinical chemistry assay
equipment at the Automated Lab at Memorial Sloan-Kettering mandated
a flexible lab environment. The modular nature of the lab equipment
suggested the use of systems furniture for lab benches and accessioning
areas and an open plan for future installations.
Case Study 3: At WM Keck Center for Neuroscience at Rutgers University,
rethinking mechanical systems technology allowed the construction
of a unique environment for researchers to explore the nature of
spinal injury and its treatment. By creating down draft tables that
work in conjunction with laminar airflow, 3 distinct research modalities
could exist in this lab without walls.
DBCC designers help our clients establish goals, track performance,
and share results for continuous improvement. A free and open exchange
with our peers at Labs21 will raise the bar industry wide. All three
projects cited in our presentation reflect a planning approach that
permits flexibility / sustainability. The program challenges of
all three projects were to plan solutions that embrace flexibility
and are thus inherently sustainable over time. A central design
issue from conception to completion of each project was how and
where to allow for areas of potential change and demonstrate measurable
Charles (Chip) Calcagni,
AIA, currently a principal with DBCC, works on every aspect of even
the most complex projects for both private and corporate clients.
Throughout his 19-year career he has devoted himself to incorporating
design excellence into advanced healthcare technology, including
the Neuroscience Laboratory at Rutgers University and the Automated
Laboratory at Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center.
He worked with prominent design-oriented New York architectural
firms Mitchell/Giurgola and James Stewart Polshek and Partners prior
to joining DBCC. He devotes himself to incorporating design excellence
into advanced healthcare technology. Mr. Calcagni's projects are
characterized by a high level of personal interaction with clients
and staff alike. Using an approach that makes the user an integral
member of the project design team, Mr. Calcagni helps to direct
the client toward positive architectural decisions. By studying
and understanding the interrelationships of people within clients'
institutions, he creates viable solutions that in many cases exceed
the expectations of the project users.
Paul Whitson, AIA,
focuses primarily on health care design, and his experience includes
a wide range of projects for clients including: Saint Barnabas Health
Care System, Mount Sinai, The Hospital for Special Surgery, Saint
Vincent Catholic Medical Centers and others. Mr. Whitson currently
leads the team responsible for projects at Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center. Under his guidance, DBCC has completed more than
35 projects over the last four years. The scope of programs includes
research and laboratory space, offices, pharmacies, medical practice
space, public areas, chemotherapy infusion suites and the chief
planning role for the recently completed Sidney Kimmel Center for
Prostate and Urologic Cancers at MSKCC. His experience lends depth
to his understanding of the architectural process. His involvement
extends through all phases of a project from Master Planning to
Mr. Whitson's continuing interest in sophisticated architectural
design defines a balance between the technical and expressive elements
of projects. Under his direction, the implementation of complicated
programs satisfies client needs through the creation of elegant
spaces. He became a principal at DBCC in 2002.