BOX 3.9 Common Floor Layouts

  • Central circulation corridor

  • Off-center circulation corridor system

  • Peripheral or racetrack circulation corridor

  • Peripheral or racetrack circulation corridor with exterior offices

  • Central service corridor

  • Open laboratory suite concept

Laboratory floors are often designed around building service cores that centralize building support areas such as stairways and elevators, utility shafts, communication equipment rooms, rest rooms, and other shared functions, such as MEP equipment.


The layout of circulation corridors should support efficient access to all adjoining spaces and encourage interaction. It should also support efficient emergency egress as described in the "Environmental Health and Safety" section of this chapter. Long, uninteresting circulation corridors and circuitous circulation pathways can inhibit interaction of the building's occupants.

The arrangement of corridors in research laboratory buildings can take several different forms (see Box 3.9). The "central circulation corridor" layout has laboratories located on either side of the corridor. The "off-center circulation corridor" layout has laboratories on one side and offices or support spaces or both on the other. The "peripheral'' or "racetrack" layout has a circulation corridor on the periphery with laboratories located in the interior of the building. A common variation on the peripheral circulation corridor layout has offices on the exterior of the building with the circulation corridor separating the offices and laboratories, which are then centrally located. A disadvantage of the peripheral or racetrack corridor design is the lack of natural light into and views out of the laboratories located on the interior of the building.

In larger laboratory buildings, service corridors and freight elevators are included in the design to facilitate the movement of supplies and equipment throughout the building without using the circulation corridors and elevators. Service corridors typically serve as pathways for deliveries and MEP systems and as limited storage areas for equipment. A service corridor that combines these functions may require a width of 12 feet and should include typical interior finishes on the walls, ceiling, and floors. A service corridor that serves a single function may require only a 6-foot width and may provide storage space for the adjoining laboratories for cylinders and limited supplies. Valves serving labora-

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