Facilities Take Home
Honors in 2017 Laboratory
of the Year Awards 5 By MaryBeth DiDonna Editor, Laboratory Design
Now in its 51st year, the Laboratory of the Year Awards continue to recognize excel- lence in research laboratory design, planning and construction. This annual inter- national competition receives entries from the best new and renovated laboratories.
Eligible projects represent a wide variety of laboratory types, including research, quality
assurance/control, teaching, software development, environmental, clinical, forensic,
and testing and standards.
Judging for this year’s competition was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of laboratory architects, engineers, equipment manufacturers, researchers and the editorial staff
of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design. The project teams were honored during the
Laboratory Design Conference, held April 24-26, 2017, at the Raleigh Marriott Crabtree
Valley in Raleigh, N.C.
When a U.K. government funding agency, two charities and three universities got together to plan
the new Francis Crick Institute, they
decided they wanted to create an innovative center of biomedical research right in
the heart of London.
Calling it a “beautiful building” with
a “nice floor plan,” the judging panel
designated the Francis Crick Institute as
its 2017 Laboratory of the Year.
The Crick’s flexible layout accommodates the typical 6- to 12-year tenures of
its researchers, who are not tenured—a
strategy to bring in fresh outlooks. The
flexible lab and infrastructure environments were designed to deal with rapid
changes in staffing and research.
“Virtually everything in the building, in
the lab, is moveable. So on the simple level
of changing the lab, it’s very easy and can
be done in an hour or two, for the most
part, and the researchers can do those
things themselves without getting the
facilities group involved,” said Bill Odell,
Director of Science + Technology at HOK
and Principal in Charge of the Crick project. “As a team evolves, they may realize
they have something in common with another group—for example, cell biology vs.
membranes. They can quickly rearrange
themselves so they’re all together.”
The Francis Crick Institute wins 2017
Laboratory of the Year.
An open stair at the center of the building connects the common informal meeting/break area
of each floor at the center and further encourages interaction at the Francis Crick Institute.