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DESIGN TO INSPIRE SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

By Raffe Khazadian, Principal | Science & Technology Practice Leader &

Brian DiLuiso, Principal | Director of Life Science


Groundbreaking discoveries unfold at the intersection of design and scientific innovation. Ci’s Science & Technology Practice shapes the way researchers and scientists work, collaborate, and ultimately make strides in the field. We delve into key design strategies that play a pivotal role within the Life Science, Physical Science and Manufacturing industries.


Collaborative Spaces Foster Breakthroughs


Spaces within Science & Technology facilities must encourage interdisciplinary collaboration to bring together researchers from various scientific disciplines. Open-concept laboratories, shared workspaces and strategically placed meeting areas facilitate the exchange of ideas, sparking innovative thinking and cross-pollination of expertise. To enhance the impact of touch points, these meeting areas should be highly visible and located along central circulation paths. This collaborative environment becomes a breeding ground for scientific breakthroughs, where the fusion of ideas and expertise leads to innovative solutions within healthcare, biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, medical device production and cGMP manufacturing companies.





Strategic Planning for Efficiency & Adaptability


Efficient laboratory design is crucial for optimizing research workflows. Our Lab & Manufacturing Planning team ensures that spaces are organized for maximum efficiency. This includes thoughtful placement of equipment, consideration of traffic flow and the creation of designated zones for specific research activities. Flexible and modular design concepts allow laboratories to be reconfigured easily, accommodating the latest equipment and experimental setups. This adaptability ensures that scientists can stay at the forefront of their respective fields without being hindered by static infrastructure.




Laboratories as Innovation Hubs


In the Physical Sciences, laboratories serve as innovation hubs for breakthroughs in physics, chemistry and materials science. The design of specialized workspaces, precision instrument rooms and controlled environments ensures that scientists can conduct experiments with accuracy, pushing the boundaries of what is scientifically possible. Ci works closely with clients to understand their specific needs and design laboratories tailored to each discipline. This may include cleanrooms, vibration-free spaces and controlled environments to support precise experiments.


Ci worked with Aspen Aerogels to develop a cutting-edge engineering and rapid prototyping facility that will house the next generation of thermal runway solutions. The Advanced Thermal Barrier Center (ATBC) converted an existing 59,000-square-foot retail building into a research and development facility featuring a rapid prototyping area, quality control space, and an applications lab. Supporting spaces include a reception, a large cafe, gathering spaces, a customer engagement center, offices and a large meeting room.





"Our strategy is to leverage our Aerogel Technology Platform® into large important markets, especially those with sustainability and electrification themes," said Don Young, President and CEO. "The ATBC is designed to be the center of our customer-facing work as we continue to establish ourselves as an important industry resource and play an essential role in battery safety and performance."


Optimizing Efficiency in Production Facilities


The design of production facilities is critical for optimizing efficiency and ensuring seamless workflows within the Manufacturing industry. Ci collaborates with engineers to design layouts that facilitate the smooth movement of materials, minimize production bottlenecks and incorporate automation where needed. The result is a manufacturing environment that enhances productivity, reduces costs and fosters innovation in production processes.


Ci collaborated with Cianbro/A-Z Corp on a fast-track renovation project for Puritan Medical Products to address the urgent need for COVID-19 medical testing supplies. The manufacturing facility in Pittsfield, Maine was renovated to produce medical-grade foam-tipped swabs used to test for COVID-19. Project elements included the construction of ISO-8 clean room production space, office areas, locker room facilities, quality control laboratories, removal and replacement of all HVAC, electrical, and fire systems, low voltage wiring and considerable site improvements.





Human-Centric Design for Well-Being


Recognizing the demanding nature of scientific research, we must prioritize human-centric design to enhance the well-being of researchers and scientists. Well-lit spaces, ergonomic workstations and areas for relaxation contribute to a positive working environment. A comfortable and inspiring workplace not only improves the quality of work but also attracts and retains top-tier talent in the Science & Technology fields.


Ci is providing architectural, lab planning, and interior design services on a ground-up, 11-story research and development building in Chelsea, Massachusetts for Verdynt, a life science real estate firm committed to challenging conventional lab spaces by offering flexible, adaptable environments that accommodate the swiftly changing needs of their tenants. This 390,000-square-foot modern facility houses Class-A office space, ground-level restaurant space and several amenities, including a cafe and bistro, climbing wall, fitness center and wellness rooms.




Wrap Up


In the ever-evolving landscape of Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Manufacturing, the symbiotic relationship between architectural design and scientific discovery cannot be overstated. As architects continue to push boundaries, creating spaces that inspire collaboration, innovation, and efficiency, the potential for groundbreaking discoveries becomes limitless. The future of scientific exploration is not just written in research papers; it is also etched in the blueprints of thoughtfully designed Science & Technology facilities that propel humanity toward new frontiers.

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