Research Laboratories - Plant & Food Research


Auckland, New Zealand

Plant & Food Research provides research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products. Their science supports the sustainable production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets, as well as driving the design and development of new and novel functional foods that offer benefits to human health and wellbeing.

The Hamilton Building on their Mt Albert campus in Auckland is the organisation's single biggest asset - 7 storeys with an approximate floor plate of 900m2 per floor. Built in the early 1970s the building had undergone minimal alterations, and was now at a point in its life span that a major refurbishment was required.

Lab-works Architecture partnered with Bossely Architects to undertake this major project that encompassed a full refurbishment of not only the laboratories and office spaces, but also the corporate facilities, external facade and plant rooms. 

Needing to comply with modern biosecurity standards, the laboratories are designed to meet Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2) requirements for Pathology / Virology functions, as well as for Plant Development and Nutrition functions. In addition, a PC3 suite is incorporated for work on exotic organisms.

Although there is a wide variety of functions including Tissue Culture, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Culture, Virology, Pathology, Growth Rooms and the like, the laboratory areas have been designed to allow for future flexibility and changing functionality.

A common theme from the science groups was a desire for flexibility in the use of laboratory spaces, so that they can respond to potential biosecurity incursions, as well as reform teams to take advantage of scientific opportunities in the development of novel produce.

The resulting design sees the creation of common open laboratory areas that allow for flexibility and re-configuration. Supporting these spaces are dedicated rooms that allow for specific functions in order to maintain sample integrity or to control potential cross contamination issues. However, the design of these spaces means that if required they too can be repurposed as the nature of the science develops.

With the extensive use of glass and open access ways, the design creates an open environment that is directly visible from the non-laboratory support areas. This provides not only a pleasant working environment but enhances safety by eliminating the effect of working alone in what were closed
off rooms.

Click photo