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Rightsizing Space

Robin Youngelman, LS Planning Group, Inc.

Rightsizing is a major concept in sustainable design as it applies to mechanical systems. This presentation will suggest that this concept can also apply to the allocation of space from the early strategic planning stages through detailed design phases. The presentation will look at how planning and design assumptions affect the overall square footage of a facility. Examples of benchmarking and laboratory layouts will be examined to see how alternative concepts of organization, layout, casework and function can influence the overall size and therefore economy of a facility. The economy of the facility is directly related to its impact on the environment. The rightsizing of the facility can reduce the impact significantly.


It is imperative to include the researchers in the process of rightsizing a laboratory. Thinking outside the box as it relates to space planning is only effective if the required functions and processes are adequately and amply enabled with the users approval prior to construction. Allocating space within a facility is first tied to the benchmarks derived for a particular groups function and then to the specific layouts developed during the design phase. As science and equipment evolve, so evolves the laboratory design. Efficient equipment layouts utilizing vertical organization can reduce bench space by as much as 30%. Finding common functions between groups, overlapping equipment needs, and applying diversity and load management analysis to bench space can further affect the quantity of equipment and size of the lab required. Efficiencies that are gained from this process can significantly impact the amount of space that ultimately will be built and its impact on our resources.

Labs21 Connection:

The concepts of adaptability, adjustability, and expandability are all integral to planning for sustainable laboratory facilities from a space perspective. The presentation will explore how laboratory planning and design, from benchmarking to laboratory layouts can use these concepts to facilitate sustainable spaces adapted to different types of sciences, allowing for adjustment of function with minimal disruption, and inclusive of expansion opportunities to allow for strategic growth and alignment with the academic and business goals. Operational matrixes between user groups can identify overlaps in equipment and processes which, with good planning, can reduce facility needs and lead to greater cooperation and interaction between diverse groups of scientists.


Robin Youngelman joined LS Planning Group in 2001 and has been working almost exclusively on laboratory projects. She has more than 18 years of architectural experience. A highly motivated, organized, and creative registered architect, Robin has solid design, programming, and technical skills.

Robin's experience planning laboratory projects includes planning over 100,000 SF of pharmaceutical labs and process spaces. She is working closely with facility managers and users to develop solutions for increasing the utilization and efficiency of existing labs and offices. Her goal is to improve the work environment while providing our clients with cost effective solutions to their space use concerns.

Robin recently completed a Small Scale Fermentation and Purification project for Amgen's AC7 LakeCenter facility. She is currently leading a strategic facility plan and space programming effort for Amgen's small molecule development. Last year Robin led the design of 12,000 SF of laboratory tenant improvement space for Dharmacon.

Robin's highly developed analytical and problem-solving ability is evident to the client in the attention to detail and competent manner in which she performs at each phase of planning, design and construction.


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