Less Lab Space, More Support Space

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May 8, 2024

Knowledge, Research

Discovery, Learning

A study conducted in 2022 by BSA LifeStructures (BSA) shows a significant change in how square footage is optimized based on the types of research being conducted, key operational strategies, and staff concerns. The study found a shift toward a 50-50 ratio between lab and lab support space, with larger lab support spaces, smaller lab modules, a reduced number of workstations in labs, increased use of flexible, mobile lab benches with sinks, and the placement of labs along exterior walls to access natural light.

The findings potentially affect how labs and other workspaces are designed going forward. BSA’s summary states, “One of the big results of our research is that we’re not seeing a huge change in the square footage allocation, but we’re seeing a huge change in how the square footage is used.”

BSA examined three academic medical facilities featuring standalone research institutes to determine similar design metrics effectively applied in all three buildings, which were constructed in 2009, 2014, and 2020. The study concluded that metrics common to the buildings could be used to create best practices for designing productive, cost-effective, and easy-to-reconfigure research facilities in the future.

Less Lab Space, More Support Space