center of a campus may reduce access for uninvited visitors and encourage interactions with other campus occupants but may also require visitors and users to walk from possibly unsafe perimeter parking lots day and night. The risks posed by the proposed building location, whether it is on a campus, in the center of town, or at any other location, need to be assessed as part of the siting decision. Once the site is selected, appropriate site lighting and accessibility features, such as ramps, should be designed to minimize risks, improve personal safety, and maximize access.

Access to a laboratory building by large vehicles, such as tractor-trailer trucks, is required for delivery and pickup of materials and supplies. Proper access to and design of the loading dock are also required for the safe handling of materials that may present chemical or biological hazards. Equally important, a laboratory building must be accessible on multiple sides by large fire protection vehicles and other emergency response equipment and vehicles.

Total Environmental Design Approach

Ultimately, the design and siting of a laboratory facility should incorporate a total environmental approach based on knowledge of all aspects of the building's function and environment. The issues include both natural and man-made environmental elements, as well as legal and regulatory requirements.

Floor Planning

The planning of the laboratory floor is influenced by the building's site, building and fire codes, security concerns, laboratory users, the culture of the organization, and other design decisions made during previous phases. The laboratory floor layout and the resulting traffic flow can reflect or change the culture of an organization. For example, the building can promote interaction by centralizing or clustering research offices and by locating conference rooms or other meeting spaces to allow ready access from the laboratories and offices, or it can isolate researchers by placing small, closed laboratories along a lengthy circulation corridor.

Interaction diagrams can be used as a method to identify desirable and undesirable interactions within the building as well as critical interactions between occupants of the building and the surrounding campus and community. These interactions should be considered when alternative floor layouts are evaluated to identify appropriate adjacencies.

In a corporate research facility, the research laboratories may need to be located in areas of the building that are not readily accessible to the general public. In that case, meeting rooms are needed so that visitors can interact with the building occupants without having to enter the secure area of the building. A reception area with adjoining conference rooms, augmented by the necessary

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement