Speaking of Science and Its Architecture
360 pp., 7 x 9 in, 107 color photos
- Published: December 10, 2019
- Published: November 22, 2019
An illustrated examination of laboratory architecture and the work that it does to engage the public, recruit scientists, and attract funding.
The laboratory building is as significant to the twenty-first century as the cathedral was to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The contemporary science laboratory is built at the grand scales of cathedrals and constitutes as significant an architectural statement. The laboratory is a serious investment in architectural expression in an attempt to persuade us of the value of the science that goes on inside. In this lavishly illustrated book, Sandra Kaji-O'Grady and Chris L. Smith explore the architecture of modern life science laboratories, and the work that it does to engage the public, recruit scientists, and attract funding.
Looking at the varied designs of eleven important laboratories in North America, Europe, and Australia, all built between 2005 and 2019, Kaji-O'Grady and Smith examine the relationship between the design of contemporary laboratory buildings and the ideas and ideologies of science. Observing that every laboratory architect and client declares the same three aspirations—to eliminate boundaries, to communicate the benefits of its research programs, and to foster collaboration—Kaji-O'Grady and Smith organize their account according to the themes of boundaries, expression, and socialization. For instance, they point to the South Australian Health and Medical Institute's translucent envelope as the material equivalent of institutional accountability; the insistent animal imagery of the NavarraBioMed laboratory in Spain; and the Hillside Research Campus's mimicry of the picturesque fishing village that once occupied its site. Through these and their other examples, Kaji-O'Grady and Smith show how the architecture of the laboratory shapes the science that takes place within it.
LabOratory starts with the history of scientific research and then takes us on a journey exploring the symbiotic relationship between architecture and scientific endeavor, using detailed case studies from eleven major laboratories. Each case study is beautifully illustrated with floor plans, massing models, and external photographs. This is a fascinating journey through modern laboratory design, exploring how science shapes architecture, and architecture shapes science, and is a must-read for anyone involved in this rapidly-evolving field.
Jennifer Dimambro, Principal, Americas Science and Industry, Arup