University of Illinois at Chicago Pharmacy, Sustainable Design Through Multi-Use

Susan Turner, Bailey Edward Design, Inc.

A growing trend in education is to provide hands on training in the sciences. While many programs have outside placement for hands-on training, the use of university-based simulation facilities for the training of doctors, dentists and scientists has grown in popularity. A constant within in the area of university laboratory design is the pressure for efficient use of space, and reduction of operating costs. One solution to that pressure is the multi-function space. Typically, the construction of simulation laboratory results in a purpose-built facility which can be used for one simulation. It works well for training students in that aspect of the field, for a single class of students, once or twice a term. In the other times, the space could stand empty, being heated and cooled but unoccupied. This case study demonstrates how effective design can permit multiple uses of one space.

The University of Illinois' College of Pharmacy re-purposed a compounding lab from the 1950's. There was no capacity to provide clean room training, or provide re-certification of hospital pharmacists. The University required a compounding classroom, distance learning capabilities, a clean room simulated environment, and the ability to perform training and testing of hospital professional personnel. Through intensive stakeholder programming, a design was developed for a three classroom suite of rooms which together could teach a full class of students in the compounding (non-sterile) mode, and individually, could provide a simulated clean-room (sterile) formulation laboratory including gowning and both positive and negative clean rooms. Facilitated by modular mobile furniture, simulated monitoring devices, and creative use of spatial division, four functions were designed into utilizing one space, reducing operating costs over multiple special use spaces.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the synergies among diverse functions for multiple uses of a space.
  • Assess the opportunities and pitfalls of designing multiple uses into one space.
  • Understand design for simulation of clean rooms versus actual clean room spaces.
  • Implement energy savings even within a small renovation for large effect.


Susan Turner is a licensed architect and a Fellow of the AIA, who has worked, lectured and published internationally. She is a co-founder of the I2SL Windy City chapter, and lectures on laboratory design and project management. Over the span of her 30 year career, she has worked on labs and higher education projects in Canada and the U.S., certifying with the Project Management Institute. She is passionate about sustainability, promoting existing buildings as the renewable resource of our age.


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