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GREENLAB: A Collaborative Effort at Sustainable Laboratory Design

Peter Busby, Busby Perkins+Will
Dan Watch and Bryan Croeni, Perkins+Will

As we move ahead in this century, science is providing us with unprecedented, exciting and challenging possibilities in the realm of life sciences, including biotechnology. As we continue to unlock the code of life at molecular, cellular and systemic levels, institutions and businesses are working to push ahead, explore, adapt and turn research into real medicine and real technological advances that improve the quality of life for all.

Coupled with this realization of new science opportunities, the performance required of a research building - for controlled research environments, for the protection of the environment and researchers while enabling scientific inquiry and collaborative effort - increases. Delivering this requires forethought, planning and insight, as well as great technical expertise. Historically, these buildings have also been significant consumers of energy and natural resources. The City of Seattle has recognized the current and potential economic contributions of the biotechnology industry to the regional economy and has also made environmentally responsible design a priority. The convergence of these two civic priorities, and the designation of the South Lake Union area as a fitting home for the life sciences in the Northwest, has created a unique opportunity to define the next stage of evolution of the life sciences research building.

Labs21 Connection:

Proposal and Opportunity:
Perkins+Will, Keen Engineering and MKA have joined Vulcan Northwest and Sellen Construction to undertake a self-funded research effort to create a prototype biotechnology research building in order to test the following key assumptions:

1. That an environmentally responsible and highly-functional research building can be designed to reduce energy consumption to 80% of that for a baseline building conforming to current energy conservation codes at minimal or no additional construction cost and with significantly reduced operating costs.

2. That the careful evaluation and application of environmentally responsible planning and design strategies will result in a research and development building that will be qualitatively superior to current baseline buildings in enabling a vibrant and scientist-friendly research and development environment.

3. That "green" science buildings are inherently better neighbors in the mixed use future envisioned for the South Lake Union area.

Recognizing that environmentally responsible strategies are often site-specific and that a developer-based biotech tenant profile with the related development pro forma are critical parameters for this effort, Vulcan, a major landowner and developer in the South Lake Union area, will furnish these key real world components and participate throughout the process in the role of developer/owner.

Research Outcome:
We anticipate that, by the end of this process, we will have defined and applied appropriate and practical strategies in the design of our prototype that will demonstrate proof of concept. The resulting building and engineered systems design, with supporting data, will be documented and made available to those participating in our effort followed by publication. This green lab prototype study will be completed in April 2005.

Key findings from the Green Lab Prototype study will be presented along with the implications it will have on laboratory design practices.


Peter Busby founded his architectural firm in Vancouver in 1984. The firm now includes a core group of Associates - honing experience, knowledge and skills in the pursuit of excellence at every level. To better serve a growing client base Busby + Associates has merged with Perkins+Will - creating a Northwest office for Perkins+Will in Seattle, Vancouver and Calgary. Projects of the firm have received many design honors including the 2004 AIA National Sustainable Design Award for White Rock Operations Building, and four Governor General Awards (Canada) and four Lieutenant Governor Awards (BC). Other awards recognize engineering systems, sustainability, project management, construction, heritage, and industrial design, thus attesting to the comprehensive service the firm provides. Current projects include a wide range of types and locations: post secondary education projects at the University of British Columbia, York University, University of Washington, Simon Frasier University, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology; rapid transit stations; green office buildings, residential and office tower private development projects; exploratory and planning projects.

Dan Watch's history of award winning design, with significant international experience and emphasis on architecture as well as city planning, provides Perkins+Will and their clients with a unique and well-versed talent. Mr. Watch leads, coordinates and supports the design efforts in Perkins+Will's laboratory studio to help assure the highest quality facilities possible within each client's budget. In addition to his design responsibilities, Mr. Watch is also responsible for lab planning and equipment planning. Mr. Watch has written a book entitled Research Laboratories that has been published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in the Fall of 2001. He was also invited to the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University as a guest lecturer to speak on laboratory design in the summer of 2001 and 2002. Mr. Watch explains his approach towards architecture and planning as being "original, skillful and affordable. Originality is in the creative resolution of specific needs and aspirations of the clients. Skill is represented in the detail of the actual construction. Affordability by providing the highest quality design within the project budget."

Bryan Croeni, AIA, is a Principal at Perkins+Will specializing in facilities for the life sciences. His service to the biotechnology industry began in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 25 years ago. Bryan is highly regarded as a skillful communicator and team leader. He has demonstrated expertise in planning, design and management on a broad range of project types across the private and public sectors with an emphasis in high tech facilities. Bryan's design portfolio includes the Genencor International Technology Center in Palo Alto, CA that received R&D Magazine's Lab of the Year Award in 1997 and the Applied Biosystems' New Corporate Campus in Pleasanton, awarded a LEED™ Silver rating. Additional clients for major projects include Dendreon Corporation, Allergan, Protein Design Labs, Alza Corporation and the Stanford Management Company (Stanford Research Park). He served as the only Architect on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Bioscience Center before relocating to Seattle in 2004.

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