The Future Of Laboratory Design In The Uk


An American architect, Don Prowler, once said that "labs embody the spirit, culture, and economy of our age...what the cathedral was to the 14th century and the office building was to the 20th century, the laboratory is to the 21st century.”

The future of laboratory design in this country comes under the spotlight at a prestigious seminar being held at the Royal Institute of British Architecture in January.

This is a joint initiative between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) in association with S-Lab, and sponsored by HDR Architecture

MRC Chief Executive Sir John Savill says: “If you were asked to draw a picture for the idea of ‘discovery’, it’s likely that you might draw a picture of a scientist working at their lab bench in a moment of revelation with a light bulb above their head.



We all know that in reality those moments take a huge amount of time and work to come to fruition and that medical discoveries can often take a complex route from bench to bedside and back again.

What is perhaps less visible is the active partnership that’s needed between architects, engineers, designers and research staff to ensure that the laboratories of the 21st Century are safe, sustainable and conducive to partnership working at all levels.

The Medical Research Council is committed to providing world-class research environments for its researchers and as we enter our Centenary year, it’s a pleasure to be at a conference to discuss how laboratories will be evolving over the coming years.”

Chair of USHA Clive Parkinson says," Getting your laboratory designed right in the first place can save you so many problems down the line. If you get it right, it doesn't just make for a better science, it helps to solve those unforeseen issues that always crop up during the life of a laboratory."

The event is being sponsored by HDR Architects. The Managing Principal of HDR's London office, Bea Sennewald, says: "We are delighted to be principal sponsor of this valuable seminar. To HDR, "Laboratory Design" is far more than laboratory planning; it is, in essence, about the creation of the environment for discovery, analysis and interchange of ideas. It goes well beyond benches and is a vital prerequisite for: quality of research output; attracting researchers; innovation; flexibility to respond to new technologies; and creating collaboration and productivity. We look forward to sharing views on how the facilities of tomorrow - across the scientific disciplines - can be designed to offer stimulating, productive and dynamic environments that can also be delivered competitively in today's challenging economic world”.

The organisers hope the seminar will appeal to those in research and estates in higher education sectors, the pharmaceutical industry, designers, architects, the construction industry as well as project managers.

The Laboratory Design Seminar takes place on Thursday 31st January 2013 at RIBA London.

Full programme details can be found on

For more information please contact:
Lynda Couch-Smith USHA Executive Officer 01273 641882 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.