Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories - The University of Auckland


Auckland, New Zealand

Lab-works Architecture were the specialist laboratory architecture consultants to the project architects, Architectus. The laboratory design was based around the client's needs for flexibility, visibility around and into laboratory spaces, facilities for people with disabilities, laboratory safety and an ability to instill laboratory protocols on students.

These undergraduate teaching laboratories comprise the main teaching spaces for the School of Chemistry and need to accommodate 128 students at a time within three flexible teaching areas. The teaching spaces have been located around the outside of the building with the more specialised shared instrumentation and analytical laboratories and staff preparation areas in the centre.

All services including power, data, gases and water are reticulated through the ceiling space and all laboratory joinery benching and fixtures are removable. This way the space is able to be easily reconfigured without affecting adjacent spaces and maximises the usability and flexibility of the bench working surfaces.

Visibility around and into laboratory spaces was maximised by having glazed walls wherever possible between spaces and by keeping space above benches clear of storage. The laboratory benching has been designed so that it can be lowered to accommodate people with disabilities within the same bench module, adjacent to specifically designed accessible fume cupboards.

Specifically designed safety stations incorporate all required safety equipment including hand wash basins, safety shower, eye wash, fire extinguishers and spill and bund kits in central easily identified locations. One of the purposes of a teaching laboratory is to instill safety and operational protocols. This laboratory has been designed with clear boundaries encouraging and enhancing handwashing and laboratory coat wearing on entering and leaving the laboratory.

Upon completion of this project teaching staff reported that the overall design works well and that the space provides for good student circulation. Students are less intimidated by being in a large space as it is broken up into smaller work pods resulting in less noise issues.

Lab-works Architecture was awarded the S-Lab 2014 Refurbished Laboratory Building Award for the Auckland University Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories.

On this project Lab-works Architecture worked in collaboration with Architectus.

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