T I B S - May 1985
Design of a biomedical laboratory building, Part I1
structure was needed to ensure that sensitive instrumentation would not be affected by factors such as traffic on adjacent streets, a railway siding 50 yd (45.7 m) to the west and a shallow subRobert J. Pelletier way tunnel 100 fl (30.5 m) to the south. A study indicated that the ambient vibrations were of relatively low freA building such as the Whitehead Institute is designed around a basic armature quency. It was determined by measureexpressed in the functional and space program drawn up by the planners (see 'Design ment to stiffen the frame to ensure that of a biomedical laboratory building, Part I' in the last issue of TIBS). The design must no sympathetic amplification of site also anticipate the necessary network of services (ducted, piped and wired) as well as vibrations would take place. The stiffening also provided some excess capacity the realities of structure and the inevitable constraints imposed by the site. in the frame to help compensate for the To be truly successful, a building tangnlar shape of the lot. The plans (Figs early start of the structural design which designed to house a program of activities 1 and 2) shows how this geometric meant that not all loads or their locaundergoing continuous and rapid peculiarity is resolved; from the exterior tions were accurately known. In particudevelopment must possess an inherent most observers perceive the building as lar, the Mechanical Penthouse would flexibility. Flexibility will also be called rectangular. eventually contain heavy equipment in On all floors the added width at the positions not determined when the on during the design and construction period (typically about three years from south end accommodates entrance func- frame was designed. inception to occupancy), as modifica- tions, i.e. passenger elevators, lobbies, Steel was selected for the structural tions are made to the initial program of offices, conference rooms and lounges frame primarily for reasons of economy, activities. In the lifetime of such a build- as well as toilets and janitors' closets. but also to make any later changes easier ing (50 or more years) continuous On the ground floor, the major 'public' than they would be with concrete. change is likely. Indeed, this will be an areas (Auditorium, Dining Room, Floors are metal deck with structural indication of the vitality of the scientific Lobby) are next to the main entry on the light-weight concrete-fill as part of the research taking place within. A surpris- south side. composite structure. Lateral stiffness, A substantial suite for small animals for wind- and earthquake-resistance, is ing degree of flexibility can be achieved by simply following a few general rules: occupies almost all of the second floor. provided by moment-resisting frame The facility requires: no outside action at the building perimeter. The • Provide enough space with efficient exposure, a means of controlling access, alternative to this would be to have diagand clear routes for ductwork and utila design to ensure that the animals can- onal bracing around interior shafts, but ities not get out and air balance to prevent this would interfere with duct distribu• Arrange the structural features such the presence of the animals from becom- tion and possible future door locations. that room sizes are not rigidly deter- ing obvious! mined by columns or diagonal bracing Floors 3 through 6 are very similar in Medumical systems and services members plan. Variations required by the difThe mechanical systems control the 0 Provide the means (plumbing valves, ferent disciplines are accommodated environment for comfort and experielectrical circuit panels, duct dampers) within the basic system of laboratory ments (including the delivery and disto isolate laboratories or other space modules (Fig. 3) and shared service posal of fluid and gases used). They modules so that local changes do not spaces in the center. A few special lab- work with the arrangement of spaces to affect adjacent areas oratories are located at the north-east protect experiments, experimenters and The Whitehead Institute is func- corner of the building: a Containment the surrounding community. Because tionally and structurally independent. Laboratory on the third floor; an Elec- biological sciences have become inSince only basic utilities are provided tron Microscopy suite on the fourth creasingly dependent on closely confrom outside, locations are required for floor and a Fermentation Laboratory on trolled environmental conditions, the steam boilers, electrical transformers the fifth floor. cost of achieving that control has The seventh floor is largely devoted to become more important. Economy of and switchgear, an emergency generator, parking, delivery areas, catering and a Mechanical Penthouse. A Seminar operation was a priority in the design incineration, in addition to the research Room and a Lounge are the only spaces and concerns not only conservation of laboratories, offices and administrative used by the science faculty on this floor. energy but also minimizing the costs of Brief descriptions of the supporting maintenance of all the systems. and support spaces. The site is at a corner with streets on the south and systems and services and the principal The design of the ventilation system west. The other sides are to be covered concerns in their design are presented for a complex laboratory building must by a parking structure (40 ft [12.2 m] here. take into account the vast quantity of air above grade), making it important to taken in from outside, filtered, conlocate activities that require no outside Structure ditioned and distributed throughout the The structure of the Institute had to building, then recaptured by the various exposure on those sides. The basic determinant of the building meet several requirements. Con- components of the exhaust network and shape is the research floor (see Fig. 1), struction was scheduled to be fast-track eventually discharged. This air volume is somewhat modified by the non-rec- which means that the structural frame ten times that required for an office was designed and contracted out as a building of equal size. Morever, almost R. J. Pelletier is at Goody, Clancy and Associates separate package as early in the design all of the air is required by code to be Inc., 334 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, USA. process as possible. A vibration-resistant used only once, imposing a great energy ~) 1955, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam
TIBS- May 1985 burden during both heating and cooling seasons. Just as daunting is the large number of piped services distributed throughout the bui|dirtg- 18 separate fluid or gas systems each with a separate point of origin and pattern of distribution. The space requirements and efficient configuration of these mechanical elements must be part of the initial building design. Two large shaft areas extending from the third floor to the penthouse provide vertical routes for large supply ducts and piping risers. In addition, the laboratory module exhaust ducts are grouped in narrow chases beside the corridors. Both of these features limit the horizontal duct runs in the ceiling space, which can then be used to distribute other services. The floor to floor distance is 15 ft (4.6 m) [vs 13 ft (4.0 m) in the typical office building] in order to reduce conflicts and to provide space to make future changes.
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All processes with any significant risk are carried out in containment devices: fume hoods for chemical or solvent fumes; biological cabinets to prevent contamination of experimental material and to protect the operator. Exhausted air from both types of device is removed from the laboratory and discharged above the roof of the building. About half of the laboratory modules have been equipped with fume hoods and these can be added to or removed from any laboratory module without upsetting the balance of the system. The number and distribution of biological cabinets can also be varied.
Directional air flow
Fig. 1, Plan of the Whitehead Instiltae building.
The balance between air supplied to and removed from a space determines whether air flows into or out of that space. This directional air flow is used to control the migration of airborne particles, aerosols, fumes and odors throughout the building. In the event of a fire, the balance between floors is altered to ensure that exit stairs are free of smoke and that smoke is localized and evacuated from the building by the most direct means. The change from normal operation to emergency operation is initiated automatically by signals from the fire-sensing and alarm system.
Energy recovery The great volume of air and quantity of energy needed to air condition the building make cost-effective conservation techniques worthwhile. The
M a y 1985
Se~-'tion Fig. 2. Section through the Whitehead Institute building.
main energy savings in the Whitehead Institute are achieved as follows:
The distribution of piped services requires careful planning to convey the Unoccupied mode. A time clock services efficiently to their destinations shuts down the full operation of main air and to make future changes to laborasupply and exhaust units at a predeter- tory modules possible. In the Institute, mined hour. Individual laboratories almost all supply piping is distributed receive only about 25% of the normal overhead and fed down to service outworking air supply if the fume hood is lets at the sinks, benches and other locaclosed (as sensed by a microswitch) and tions. Drainage, which must flow by the lights are off. If neither of these gravity, passes through the floor and conditions applies, indicating an then travels horizontally to a stack at the 'occupied laboratory', full ventilation corridor wall. Thus, there are no vertical will take place. Thus, the building can pipe bundles to prevent the complete take advantage of low occupancy to save rearrangement of any laboratory modenergy while allowing scientists to work ule or group of modules. In addition, at odd hours. each system has valves which allow individual modules to be isolated for mainExhaust. All exhaust, except special tenance or changes, without affecting purpose hoods for perchloric acid, iso- other areas of the building. tapes, etc. is passed through two plenums and four large exhaust fans. This Electric services method of 'combining' exhaust makes it The Institute uses primary power feasible to extract energy from the out- from the local utility company at 1308 V going airstream using glycol coils and and transforms the current down to transfer that energy to the incoming air. 480 V for general distribution in two risers. This voltage is also used for all Reheat energy. This is heat rejected heavy equipment. Transformers in elecfrom the chillers during the cooling tric closets on each floor further reduce season. Thus heat which would normally the voltage to 277 V for general lighting, be wasted is used to provide reheat con- 208 V for larger equipment and 120 V trol. This removes the primary objection for general power outlets. to reheat control systems which is that The building is protected against loss energy is used to cool incoming air to the of power in two ways: (1) Two cables, basic distribution temperature and then one of them redundant, connect the additional energy (steam or hot water) is building to the local power grid to preused to raise the temperature as needed vent cable burn-out. (2) In the event of a for control. utility power failure, a large (400 kW) diesel-powered emergency generator Pure water. This is produced by a will automatically take up the load of combination of reverse osmosis, fil- essential equipment and services. A systration and absorption, rather than tem of manual switching and automatic distillation. load shedding of lower priority circuits
ensures that the generator will not be overloaded and that the most essential functions will be maintained. Other features of the wiring are common to most contemporary buildings, with a few notable exceptions. The laboratories are positioned to receive as much natural light as possible. The perimeter fluorescent lights in laboratory modules are controlled by a dimmer system which reacts to signals from a photoelectric sensor in each laboratory. Significant power savings are achieved while maintaining a more uniform level of illumination. A system of computer cabeling and dedicated power outlets has been extended to all laboratories, offices and locations where consoles might prove useful. This network is connected to the main scientific computer. The system of alarms which monitors refrigerators, special environments, etc. is connected with the general building digital control. This system is an extension of the ventilation control system rather than part of the electrical system but an interface is maintained so that information about the state of all systems is fed into a common reporting channel. The above brief description suggests that the modern laboratory building is beginning to resemble a biological organism. The exterior shell separates the controlled interior from the uncontrolled exterior; complex and interdependent systems provide the ability to maintain a stable internal environment while consuming energy and discharging waste, and finally there is a capacity to adapt to change.
Fig. 3. A typical laboratory in the Whitehead Institute building.