June 12, 2017 - Lars Müller Publishers - LAB – Building a Home for Scientists
published by Lars Müller Publishers
e-flux Architecture
June 12, 2017
June 12, 2017

Lars Müller Publishers

Cover of LAB – Buidling a Home for Scientists

LAB – Building a Home for Scientists
published by Lars Müller Publishers

www.lars-mueller-publishers.com
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

LAB – Building a Home for Scientists
published by Lars Müller Publishers

www.lars-mueller-publishers.com
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

In LAB – Building a Home for Scientists Mark C. Fishman describes how to build labs as homes for scientists, to accommodate not just their fancy tools, but also their personalities. Laboratories are both monasteries and space stations, redolent of the great ideas of generations past and of technologies to propel the future. Yet standard lab design has changed only little over recent years.

Fishman, leading an enduring process to develop and build campuses for the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in Shanghai, has conceived exemplary solutions for longtime nuisances in the working environments of natural scientists. He proposes an astonishingly humble answer to the question, “What is a lab?”

"It is far more than a place for scientists to get their experiments done. It is their home for most of their waking hours. Can this home make their lives more enjoyable through design and aesthetics? Certainly. Can it make them more creative and effective? Who knows. Great discovery centers have been uninviting, cramped, dimly lit, and smelly. But a Dickensian sweatshop is neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific discovery.

So why not be beautiful, healthful, and comfortable? It is more than being pretty. Somehow the structure should embody the greatness of science itself and should challenge the occupants to surpass the great discoveries of their forebears. It should remind them of the privileges of working in scientific discovery, of deciphering nature and contributing directly to the health of mankind. And it should celebrate more than the technological cutting edge. Like a monastery, it should invite contemplation and the search for truth.“

Although the support of the creative process is a compelling feature of a contemporary lab, it also has to be built flexibly enough to accommodate introvert solo researchers as well as large interdisciplinary teams, while an immediate connection to fellow researchers across the globe has to be at disposal as well.

LAB – Building a Home for Scientists strives to be an encouraging and instructive tool for scientists, planners and architects in their reflections on how to shape a working environment that is conducive to individual wellbeing and professional interaction. The advantages of new lab technologies and discovery tools allow open spaces and fluid pathways to enhance the culture of science. The author describes the evolution of the scientific laboratory and observes the sociology of buildings, proposing spatial generosity to accommodate individual instincts, ambitions and drives along with teamwork.

About the author
Mark Fishman is a scientist and physician. He is currently Professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard. From 2002 to 2016 he was president of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), the drug-discovery arm of Novartis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to NIBR he was Chief of Cardiology and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where his research group helped to introduce genetics in the zebrafish as an approach to discover genes that direct embryonic development and disease. He is an author of more than two hundred papers and of the textbook Medicine. He has designed laboratories at the MGH site in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and for the new campuses for Novartis in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Basel, Switzerland; and Shanghai, China.

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