Integrating Research with an Academic Hospital Environment
(Integrating a Hospital Environment with a Research Laboratory)
Peter Lotz, AIA, and Jan
Madey, AIA, WHR Architects
What should be taken into consideration when planning
1960 space for 21st century laboratories?
- Building height limitation.
- Structural grid versus laboratory module.
- Floor load and vibration criteria.
- Electromagnetic field interference.
- Fume hood exhaust - wind tunnel test verification.
- Infrastructure capacity:
- Space for exhaust chases.
- Horizontal air distribution.
- Power upgrades.
- Laboratory piping and utilities.
- Potential for energy conservation, given the space limitation.
- Renovation work sequence in existing hospital environment.
- Flexible and adaptable laboratories as a recruitment tool for the future
academic hospital research.
In generic research laboratories designed without the users' input,
flexibility and adaptability is of the utmost importance. In an
academic hospital setting where researchers will be recruited in
the future, there are several key aspects that need to be considered
in the early planning stages:
- Ratio of wet laboratories to dry, including computational laboratories.
- Ratio of laboratories to laboratory support.
- Efficiency in laboratory planning (i.e., maximizing assignable
area that is research grant recoverable).
- Separation of laboratory and office areas to optimize energy
- Modular open plan laboratories that promote interaction, collaboration
and flexible space allocation.
- Work with select agents that requires enhanced security and
segregation of spaces.
- Noise and vibration control, critical in sensitive imaging application.
- Work with animal models and availability of facilities at the
- Amenities conducive to creativity, interaction, and socializing.
- Availability of conference rooms and large assembly spaces for
meetings and seminars.
- Identity of the research related spaces and activity in the
academic hospital environment.
- Lessons learned from successive phased design and build out
of consecutive floors.
This case study looks at a total of five separate projects that
were constructed consecutively over two years starting in September
2005. As design ideas were transferred from paper to real structures,
the design team analyzed the finished space, and together with owners
and users, formulated adjustments to the program and functional layout
of the next project.
specializes in laboratory planning and programming and design of
functional, technical facilities in support of a variety of basic
and applied scientific research missions. His depth of experience
includes design requirements for safety and environmental containment
of hazardous and toxic effluents. As director of WHR’s Research
Facilities Planning and a principal of the firm, he provides overall
management and technical expertise in programming and conceptual
development and commissioning of educational and research laboratories,
specifically chemistry, biochemistry, life science, and industrial
Mr. Lotz is currently directing a major biomedical research laboratory
project, The Research Institute Building, for The Methodist Hospital
at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. The project is located in a dense
urban environment on a site adjacent to the existing hospital building.
The project involves a number of challenges and requires close coordination
with other institutions and regulatory agencies.
Jan Madey is
a project manager at WHR Architects. A native of Poland, he received
his Master of Architecture from the Technical University of Gdansk.
He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and professionally
registered in the state of Texas. With more than 25 years in the
industry, Mr. Madey’s design expertise spans a variety of
facility types. Most recently, he has specialized in research and
academic facilities for institutions of higher learning. His experience
includes programming, master planning, architectural design, and
Recently, Mr. Madey has been involved with the planning and design
of the Methodist Hospital Research Institute. The effort involves
a broad range of issues spanning feasibility studies and construction
projects in the existing hospital buildings and coordinating a multi-disciplinary
team for the new 420,000-square-foot Research Institute Building.
Mr. Madey has designed and successfully completed construction
of the Imaging Research Center for the University of Texas at Austin.
This work allowed him to acquire in-depth knowledge of magnetic
resonance imaging and other recently developed imaging methodologies.
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