CMG Lab Alteration

This project involved the creation of a new open laboratory space using custom laboratory furniture obtained from an existing lab in another building location on the campus.  The project required the removal of interior walls and services to the extent necessary to reconfigure the space to satisfy its new functional needs.  The new laboratory would support a larger number of individual research personnel, and consequently fewer items of discrete laboratory equipment within the space.  When completed, the new space was to present an open and inviting workplace with a less crowded and more appealing work environment made available to the research staff.
Project Approach: 
A detailed survey of the as built the conditions in the existing laboratory was performed.  The existing as built drawings were reviewed in detail in order to obtain information regarding the construction of the existing casework that was to be reconfigured and the location of any load bearing walls or sheer walls that might have been in the area of the work which would preclude opening the lab to the extent desired.  Detailed interviews were conducted with the facility management personnel responsible for programming the space for the new researcher.  Using this information and detailed as built measurements that were taken various plans were prepared, which were evaluated and modified to the extent required to achieve approval.

Design Objective:
The existing space in the Center for Molecular Genetics is on the lower floor of the building and is an interior room.  The lack of light in the room, 
and the crowded conditions created by a combination of darkness and a maximization of the casework that could be placed in the space created a crowded and uninviting environment for the research staff.  This design was to alter those conditions to the extent possible in order to make the space a more inviting an open working environment. The new casework that was to be obtained from a newer laboratory space in a nether building on the campus was of a slightly different design configuration.  One objective was to make the lab appear to have only one type of casework in the space so that a harmonious interior environment could be obtained.
Design Challenge:
The interior laboratory spaces in the Center for Molecular Genetics was designed as a modular laboratory.  In order to allow the casework in the interior of the building to be provided with wet laboratory services umbilicals were installed from the ceiling to the laboratory bench top. At each of the locations where an umbilical was installed, a sheet metal enclosure had been placed from the laboratory bench top to the ceiling.  This umbilical created an opening in the ceiling and in the bench top, which precluded easy relocation of the casework in the lab without replacing both the bench top and the ceiling tiles.  In order to resolve this issue new epoxy tops available in the laboratory space that was being disassembled to provide new casework for this space was obtained. The new epoxy tops were reconfigured to eliminate top penetrations, and were configured to be supported on intermediate rails and posts.  Budget constraints precluded refinishing the casework and the existing laboratory to match the new casework, but extensive cleaning of the existing casework and tops provided a reasonably uniform appearance for all the casework in the lab.