Comparing Notes: Planning Innovations and Opportunities Inspired by the European Design Process

Wednesday, September 20, 2:00 - 3:00 PM

This presentation will focus on the differences between Europe and the United States in the planning, development and construction of lab projects and provides opportunities to consider and invigorate innovative design opportunities. Discussion points include:  

  • Sustainability
  • Safety
  • Communication
  • Relationship of design team and users
  • Coordination of engineering systems
  • Differences in tender procedures that could provide lessons learned
  • Comparisons with European (German) standards and regulations
  • Implementation of planning strategies that address sustainability, operations and economics
  • Reconciling European standards vs. U.S. standards

In recent projects in collaboration with U.S. architecture firms, European planners and manufacturers, there is more emphasis on time and money, as well as a dynamic shift in the way lab groups need to operate. Are we really responding to the commitment to create future workspaces that respond to the changing culture of scientific inquiry?

We have been exploring the planning and design processes of our colleagues across the Pond, and have gleaned some valuable information and lessons: In the right hands, scrawny technical issues became elegant solutions that properly understood the problem. As lab focused architects, we are very much concerned with the nature of the work, the safety and environmental requirements and the issues they present, the process and the culture of the work that proceeds. It should be a creative response to a specific program and experience, and in this case, it is a deliberate response to the process and equipment that comprises the space. Thus, we have been recrafting our process to meld more closely with the architectural parti and have integrated European thinking, Gembas and 3P processes into our programming and concept design discussions. These have provided worthwhile instruction about the challenges and opportunities moving forward.