Use-Based Lab Design - Making Your Labs Work for
the Way You Actually Work
A Post-Occupancy Assessment of Systems Sizing, Flexible
Design, and Lab Operations
Wendy E. Burke and Bruce
Cooper, Ph.D., LEED® AP, Linbeck Group, LP
Jane Baughman, AIA, LEED AP, and Cynthia
Walston, AIA, FKP Architects, Inc.
The Laboratory Innovation and Implementation Council is a multi-firm
consortium founded to bring innovation to laboratory design, construction
and operation from a total solutions perspective, from the building
shell to the smallest individual operating system. The Council emphasizes
several operating principles promoting sustainability, right-sizing
of systems, human-centricity, constructability, and lifecycle management.
We are conducting post-occupancy observations of labs at Rice University,
Texas Children's Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center to determine
if "innovative" labs function as expected, both from a
systems sizing perspective and with respect to floor plan and services.
We are gathering the following data:
- Actual use of the space.
- Percent of time dedicated to intended and unintended uses.
- Use of support systems for intended and unintended purposes.
- Assessment of penalties associated with relocating activities
from unintended uses.
- Ratio of planned to unplanned activities.
In addition to observation studies, we are gathering data to evaluate
the impact of lab design on research productivity, looking at one
"innovative" lab facility each of six different university
campuses. Statistical analyses will assess correlation between lab
design and tendencies of occupants to (1) produce more papers and
(2) engage in interdisciplinary collaboration.
Taken together, our studies address the following questions:
- Do occupants of "flexible" labs publish more papers
than they did in more traditional facilities?
- Do their papers have more diverse authorship?
- Do occupants share and effectively manage joint assets?
- Do occupants use lab space as intended?
- How frequently has "flexible" space changed in configuration
or accommodated new occupants?
The study will be completed by mid-June 2006. We will present conclusions
on: the relationship between space design and occupant behavior,
the impact of "flexible" design on collaboration, and
the cost and environmental implications of current popular lab design
Our study is unique because our conclusions are observation-based
and rooted in reality rather than assumption. The data we gather
will help both designers and owners make optimal choices about the
features of their labs, and improve the balance of cost, functionality,
safety, environmental impact, scientific creativity, and user comfort.
Our intent is to challenge certain commonly accepted design approaches
and promote the most appropriate, most cost-effective, most energy-efficient
design basis for modern labs. Noteworthy aspects of our presentation
- Post-occupancy observations and interviews that capture relationships
between design and behavior.
- Relationships between behavior and energy consumption.
- Evidence of actual use of facilities upon which to base future
- Identification of strategies to right-size systems and prompt
occupants to their appropriate uses.
This Council and this study support several Labs21 principles,
and will present conclusions on the following:
- Using lifecycle costs in decision-making.
- Employing strategies to optimize lab infrastructure design and
improve energy efficiency.
- Promoting energy efficiency in lab operation and training.
Wendy Burke is the Manager, Client Development for Linbeck
Group, LP. She manages the company's business development, marketing,
communications and branding activities. She has held a variety of
positions in several high tech industries, including software and
strategy consulting, all serving the life sciences industry. She
began her career at Merck Research Laboratories. Ms. Burke holds
two BA degrees from Brown University and an MBA from New York University's
Stern School of Business. She is the primary organizer of the annual
Life Sciences Real Estate & Facilities Conference and is the
author of a series of reports profiling the space requirements and
consumption trends of Houston's life sciences industry. She founded
and chairs the Laboratory Innovation and Implementation Council,
a multi-firm consortium dedicated to driving innovation in lab design
Bruce Cooper, Ph.D., is a Team Manager
at Linbeck Group, LP and provides extensive research expertise in
complement with construction management. With 18 years in biochemical
research, education and administration at Rice University combined
with over 8 years construction experience, he brings to the team
a unique understanding of the needs required for research and educational
facilities. Prior to joining Linbeck, he managed Rice University
user interests in several projects including a complex renovation
of Keck Hall, a 1925 structure, into a modern biosciences research
and education facility. Dr. Cooper is LEED accredited, and holds
a doctorate in Biochemistry from Rice University and a B.A. from
Jane Baughman is a Project Architect
at FKP Architects. She received a Bachelor of Architecture with
a Minor in Anthropology from the University of Houston in 1992 and
is a registered architect. Her studies included the completion of
an ethnography which focused on government housing architecture
and its effect on their inhabitants. This study included a two week
stay as a resident of a government housing unit located in Houston
Texas. She is a LEED accredited professional and a member of the
AIA, Texas Society of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council.
She has worked as an architectural materials fabricator, a casework
systems and furniture designer, and an engineering estimator in
addition to over 13 years of architectural practice and possesses
a strong desire to deliver architectural projects that are of enduring
beauty and benefit to clients, the public, and the environment.
Cynthia Walston, an Associate Principle
with FKP Architects, received a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors
from The University of Texas in 1982 and is a registered architect,
as well as a member of both the AIA and Texas Society of Architects.
She has over 20 years of experience in the design and construction
of biomedical research facilities and speaks regularly at national
conferences on the subject of laboratory design and laboratory equipment
planning. She served on the National Institutes of Health's National
Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) grant review
committee for national and regional bio-containment labs in 2003
and 2005. She is a founding member of the American College of Healthcare
Architects, and sits on the board of directors for an organization
that provides equipment selection and management services to the
research and medical industries. She is a Charter Member of the
Laboratory Innovation and Implementation Council.
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