Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories - The University of Auckland


School of Chemical Sciences
The University of Auckland, New Zealand

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

Lab-works Architecture were the specialist laboratory architecture consultants to the project architects, Architectus. The laboratory design philosophy is 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 instil laboratory protocols on students.

These laboratories comprise the main teaching spaces for the School of Chemistry and are required 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 prep 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 the need of affecting adjacent spaces. It also 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 and wheelchair users within the same bench module adjacent to specifically designed accessible fume cupboards.

Specifically designed safety stations incorporated all required safety equipment including safety shower, eye wash, fire extinguishers and spill and bund kits in central easily identified locations. One of the purposes of teaching laboratories 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. Wash hand basins are also incorporated into the safety stations to encourage use during time within the laboratory.

Joinery units and trolleys have been specifically designed to accommodate proprietary tote trays which are set up on a daily basis by technical staff to contain the required equipment for the day's experiment.

Laboratory teaching staff at the University report that the overall design is working well and that the space provides for good student circulation. The students are less intimidated by being in a large space as it is divided into smaller work pods which has resulted in less noise issues.


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