Meeting the needs of laboratory design requires careful planning and consideration. Despite the lab’s specialty, consideration for workflow, functionality, and technology must be made. Three key features stand out:
An open floor plan should be designed with an understanding of the workflow and needs of the user. This may seem obvious, but in a laboratory space it is of utmost importance to utilize functional planning.
Flexibility of a space allows it to have more mileage for the client – you want a lab that can evolve to meet your needs not just in the next year, but the next 5 years. The designer should ask what the intended uses of the lab are, who will work there, what equipment will be needed, and if any special conditions need to be addressed. For instance, will a cold room be needed? Will there be equipment sensitive to vibration? Answering these types of questions allows the designer to plan for all the possible uses of the space.
This is a time of quick technological changes, and laboratory design should be adaptable to these changes. Incorporate features like mobile workstations, which can connect to electricity, gases, and data feeds through ceiling-mounted service panels. This movable space will allow workers to quickly react to changes that may need to be made.
When approaching laboratory design, adhering to these three principles achieves a well thought out and functional space for your client.