'Infill' Laboratory Optimization Strategies

Christopher Hall, Integrated Project Services, LLC
Thomas Timoney, Integrated Project Services, LLC

Quality Lab renovations at pharmaceutical manufacturing sites are often executed to meet new regulatory requirements or to accommodate testing associated with increased production capabilities. To manage initial capital improvement and future operational costs, design teams are challenged to create improved, compliant laboratory spaces occupying a minimal footprint. Laboratory designs are ‘optimized’ to provide functional plan and utility solutions to meet program requirements.

This presentation will illustrate the basic layout and reconfiguration of a typical quality laboratory parti diagram at two facilities for one client. While each design solution emerged from a similar room adjacency methodology, the ‘infill’ nature of both sites required a unique architectural and mechanical solution at each location. How does the ‘ideal’ lab planning diagram adapt to meet site-specific constraints? To minimize energy consumption, how can new mechanical solutions be introduced into an existing facility? Two case studies will be presented that help answer these questions.

Case Study 1 will illustrate the creation of a new lab within an existing warehouse space. To minimize existing warehouse capacity losses, the client requested an efficient laboratory footprint. A new mechanical mezzanine was introduced within the double-height space directly above the new laboratory to meet these requirements.

Case Study 2 will demonstrate a reinterpretation of the initial design diagram within an existing office building. In this case, the site conditions presented a more aggressive set of challenges, requiring a similar program execution in half the buildable area available in Case Study 1. In addition, the building’s structural configuration and urban context demanded an innovative, multi-level mechanical platform to provide a dedicated mechanical system.

Learning Objectives

  • Review principles of integrated design and its place in laboratory design.
  • Present case studies showing the impact of performance modeling tools in the design process.
  • Discuss the importance of site design and resiliency in effecting long-term benefits for clients and community.  
  • Identify and review opportunities from external benchmarking resources (i.e. AIA 2030) as a path to carbon-neutrality.


Christopher is a Director of Process Architecture at IPS. Chris leads many of the firm’s significant laboratory projects and excels at incorporating unique site and building program requirements into creative, functional solutions. His particular interest lies in the integration of design and building technology.

Thomas is a Mechanical Group Lead at IPS. He is a hands-on engineer with experience at all levels of the design process. He has held positions as a project engineer and project manager for a multitude of construction and design projects and has been responsible for all aspects of engineering projects, including HVAC systems, Electrical Distribution, Plumbing, Fire Alarm and Security and Building Automation Systems.


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