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New labs, new philosophies

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:36am

R&D Magazine is proud to announce the 2012 Laboratory of the Year winners. These laboratories represent the pinnacle of design and execution in architecture for research and development.

New construction facilities dominated this year's competition, but beyond this common theme none of this year’s top new laboratories shared many design characteristics. One winner exemplified green and sustainable building practices. Another was built as an incubator rather than a traditional laboratory. And one was conceived and built to be one of the most advanced chemistry R&D facilities in the world.

The overall winner, the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offers of a vision of what next-generation laboratories can be. Instead of an ivory tower in the academic distance, the 2012 R&D Magazine Laboratory of the Year is enmeshed into the social and economic fabric of its surroundings in a way that didn’t impinge on its ability to promote successful research.

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2012 Laboratory of the Year

The Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery shows that a research facility, even one responsible for sensitive life science work, can flow seamlessly into the economic and spatial infrastructure of its urban surroundings. Located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus in downtown Madison, the geothermal-powered building's spacious first floor integrates an amphitheater, shops, and dining. Above and below street level are a wide variety of laboratories dedicated to high-level R&D. (Image: Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

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High Honors

Princeton University's Frick Chemistry Laboratory is the product of some of the latest philosophies in laboratory architecture, including the implementation of a two-building layout connected by aerial bridges, a low-energy/high-energy integrated air-handling approach, and an exacting strategy for efficiency and sustainability. Extensive daylighting and careful attention to collaborative space round out this facility’s many accomplishments. (Image: Warren Jagger Photography)

In addition to the top award presented to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, the 2012 Laboratory of the Year judges awarded the Frick Chemistry Laboratory at Princeton University, N.J., and the Kansas Bioscience Park Venture Accelerator in Olathe with High Honors.

Earning Special Mention award in the Sustainability category, the University of California, Riverside's School of Medicine Research Building was singled out for its attention to detail in constructing a highly efficient laboratory building.

Now in its 46th year, the Laboratory of the Year competition evaluates laboratory facilities on lab planning and design, flow, plant operations, aesthetics, energy efficiency, sustainability, cost, and more. The judging panel included architects, lab planners, construction project managers, a vendor representative from SEFA (Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association, co-sponsor of the Laboratory of the Year competition), and the editors of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design Newsletter.

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High Honors

Echoing the stark lines of a house of worship, the Kansas Bioscience Park Venture Accelerator is nonetheless geared for intensive research of many kinds. Economically built as a client incubator, Kansas Bioscience Authority's new building was designed to maximize open space, views, and natural light. To that end, the mechanical features were strategically integrated into the architecture as a core organizational element. In addition to a number of efficiency measures, the site makes creative use of an adjacent lake to serve as a heat exchanger. (Image: Michael Robinson)

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Special Mention - Sustainability

Designed to serve as an interim facility until a new medical center is built, the University of California, Riverside's new School of Medicine Research Building nonetheless serves as a case study in how to build a highly efficient laboratory. The 60,000-square-foot LEED Silver building is designed around a central core of shared uses and specialized research support, all the while adhering to strict energy use guidelines. Throughout, natural light and open doorways are balanced with visual privacy and acoustical separation. (Image: Lara Swimmer)

Representatives of the winning facilities and design teams will be officially recognized at R&D Magazine's Laboratory Design Conference. The design teams will provide presentations, including slide shows and discussions with the winning teams, as part of the Laboratory Design Conference program, which will be held Tuesday, April 17, at Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

2012 Laboratory Design Conference

Profiles of each facility will be published in the May/June 2012 issues of Laboratory Design Newsletter and R&D Magazine.

About R&D Magazine

Since its founding in 1959 as Industrial Research, R&D Magazine has served research scientists, engineers and technical staff at laboratories around the world, providing timely, informative news and useful technical articles that broaden readers’ knowledge of the research and development industry and improve the quality of their work. R&D Magazine is a publication of Advantage Business Media.

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