Exploring the Future of the Laboratory Environment: The Lab2050 Intiative

The Laboratory of the Half Century—LAB2050—is a Smith­GroupJJR initiative to dig deep into scientific trends, technologies and eco­nomics that will shape design concepts of laboratory environments in the coming decades. From our LAB2020 and LAB2030 initiatives, we saw our predicted lab trends’ rate of adoption accelerating at a rapid pace—it was time to take a generational approach and look to the future at the half century.

Our organization challenges widely-held beliefs about research space, which is key to directing our team’s thinking about common themes and the future lab’s physical manifestation. With building lifespans exceeding scientific trends, coupling and de-coupling these issues will give insights into future strategies for stakeholders from real estate to individual lab spaces. What will the future of the research environment look like? Design experts understand that these outcomes will be based on new technology, the pace of innovation, the continued need for sustainability, and R&D funding and initiatives globally, among other factors.

SmithGroupJJR (www.smithgroupjjr.com) is a recognized, integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm ranked Top 10 in the U.S. by Building Design + Construction magazine. As the U.S.’s oldest architectural firm, SmithgroupJJR has been a trusted design partner to national laboratories, academic institutions and leading international research organizations for over 60 years. The firm’s staff of 1,200 spans 10 offices across the globe. With eight Laboratory of the Year commendations from R&D Magazine, two of the last four years included the Energy Systems Integration Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Laboratory of the Half Century (a.k.a. LAB2050) is an initiative by SmithGroupJJR to define the trends of lab space for future leaders in science and technology.

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