Research Laboratories (Stage 1) - Cawthron Institute


Nelson, New Zealand

In association with Design Group Stapleton Elliot, Lab-works Architecture worked on a staged development for new laboratories and research facilities for the Cawthron Institute in Nelson.

Based out of Nelson and Blenheim, Cawthron is New Zealand's largest independent, community-owned research centre. The Institute provides high quality research, advice and analytical services to New Zealand's seafood industry and also provide solutions for sustainable management of the coastal and freshwater environment. Cawthron provides analytical testing and research services to clients throughout New Zealand.

The Stage 1 development includes the facilities for the Aquaculture and Biotechnology team at Cawthron and includes:

  • A large shared laboratory and instrument area. 
  • An Algal and Cell Culture area.
  • A molecular suite of smaller laboratories which were required to be separate from the rest of the laboratory to avoid cross contamination.
  • Associated laboratory support spaces, including wash up areas, walk-in coolrooms and freezers, and cryo facilities.

The laboratory has been designed to take advantage of the expansive glazing to the north and west. The main shared laboratory has been positioned adjacent to the full height glazing, which looks on to the common areas on the ground floor and also the external seating areas. This gives visitors and clients of the facility clear views into the laboratory areas and vice versa.

The main laboratory then has "dip-in" support spaces to the east side. The molecular facility also has open glazing into the main laboratory spaces yet the airflow remains separate through the use of sealed walls and interlocking doors.

Objectives for the design were:

  • Optimal space utilisation.
  • Increased "productive" spaces. 
  • Flexible spaces that meet today's requirements and provide allowance for growth.
  • Spaces to advance Cawthron's sustainability objectives.

As part of the process, Lab-works Architecture were also requested to challenge current operational paradigms, (i.e. work flows) as required.

Click photo