BOX 2.5 Schematic Design Phase

Schematic design establishes the general scope, conceptual design, and scale and relationships among the components of the project. The primary objective is to arrive at a clearly defined, feasible concept and to present it in a form that achieves client understanding and acceptance. The secondary objective is to clarify the project's program, explore the most promising alternative design solutions, and provide a reasonable basis for analyzing the cost of the project.

Source: Excerpted from American Institute of Architects (1993), p. 638.

The relationships between elements affect construction and operational costs of the facility as well as sociological concerns such as ease of collaboration. For instance, the grouping of similar space types such as research laboratories horizontally or vertically has the cost benefit of localizing the special mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services that are typically required. However, this type of organization may isolate offices, lounges, and other nonlaboratory areas to more distant parts of the floor and/or building, whereas locating offices adjacent to research laboratories may provide a greater number of potential opportunities for researcher interaction. Likewise, the number and area of floor plates will determine the optimum configuration of the facility when existing site constraints are considered. The number and area of laboratory floors will dictate the number of research groups that can be accommodated in a given area. Proximity of research groups will, in turn, affect the possible interactions, collaborations, and shared facilities between different research groups. (The sociological implications of these choices are discussed in Chapter 1.) Because the configuration and arrangement of spaces affect the functionality, efficiency, and potential for and type of interaction, choices to be made among alternatives must reflect the needs and interests of the user and the organization.

Small-scale issues include the configuration of individual spaces within the laboratory facility as well as the arrangement of elements—laboratory benches, fume hoods, desks, and other large pieces of equipment and storage units—within those spaces. Modular design, which uses a similar dimensional module for various space types, and generic laboratory planning, which uses a similar arrangement of the elements contained within each individual space, are the preferred methods for new laboratory construction. The modular and generic approach to laboratory planning can also be used for renovations, but the existing building structure may limit the degree to which a modular approach can be used. A modular design approach allows for the development of alternative organizations and ensures a degree of flexibility, should the need for alternative arrangements of spaces become necessary during the design/documentation and construction phases. A modular approach can also facilitate subsequent renova-



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