Vision Your Lab in One Day

Laboratory projects can be extremely challenging and require a very thorough analysis. How do we as designers use our knowledge of past projects to work with the client to create their vision? In many cases a high level visioning process can be used in combination with practical approaches to create that vision in a day.

It all starts will a well-defined and laid out plan. Yes you can create that vision and concept design in a day, but it is the Pre-work that will make the day successful. With careful advanced planning and use of very interactive and visual tools, the process itself can build consensus and be fun for the groups involved.

In many of our projects, we must also carefully consider the project needs. Is the project a consolidation effort, does the business case require more utilization per square foot? We then frame this information and work with the team in advance so that we fully understand the drivers and understand the information that is sensitive throughout the process.

The following is a series of concepts and tools that we use for creating unique concepts.

PreRead: We start this off by saying “only spend 1 hour”. No one likes to fill out forms, but by taking a short amount of time it helps to put us all on the same page. It’s amazing to me how many times different groups realize how they can share equipment and space which in turns saves the project $$$. 

Imaging: This is a great way to understand all aspects of the lab design, from basic architecture to safety needs. After going through a silent voting session, we rank the scores (1 being the best) and we start to see the consensus for what fits best. 

Polling: Everyone loves to use their phone. You can vote in real time from your phone and see the results live. It gives people the satisfaction of knowing that their voice is heard and also proves what the main drivers are for the project.

Dashboard: This tool can save the project. By building cost decisions in real time, we can answer scenarios on the fly and walk out of the meeting with a consensus. There is no excuse to say, “let’s schedule a meeting later and let me get back to you”.

Visuals: You don’t need a degree in architecture to understand a picture. Wallpaper your meeting room with images, concepts, examples to make communication on what you are talking about more effective.

Schedule: The schedule for conducting the Kickoff Visioning session is broken down into 4 steps. The result is a consensus built design that is generated from the entire Team in a half-day session.