How to vision your lab project in one day

High-level visioning processes can be used in combination with practical approaches to create a vision in a day.

By Mark Paskanik, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, CRB, Raleigh, North Carolina December 5, 2016

Laboratory projects can be extremely challenging and require a very thorough analysis. How do designers use knowledge of past projects to work with the client and create their vision? In many cases a high-level visioning process can be used in combination with practical approaches to create their vision in a day.

It all starts will a well-defined, laid-out plan. The vision and concept design can be created in a day, however, the pre-work is what will make the day successful. With careful advanced planning and use of interactive and visual tools, the process itself can build consensus and be fun for the groups involved.

In most projects, the project needs must carefully be considered. Is the project a consolidation effort? Does the business case require more utilization per square foot? After this information is gathered, it is necessary to work with the team in advance so the drivers and sensitive information can be understood fully throughout the process.

The following is a series of concepts and tools used for creating unique concepts.

PreRead: "only spend 1 hour". No one likes to fill out forms, but taking a short amount of time helps to everyone on the same page. Groups can share equipment and space which saves the project money.

Imaging: this is a great way to understand all aspects of the lab design from basic architecture to safety needs. After going through a silent voting session, the scores (1 being the best) are ranked and the consensus of what fits best is revealed.

Polling: everyone loves to use their phone. Votes can be gathered in real-time, and live voting results can be viewed. It gives people the satisfaction of knowing that their voice is heard, and it also proves what the main drivers are for a project.

Dashboard: this tool can save the project. By building cost decisions in real-time, scenarios can be answered on the fly. There is no excuse to schedule a meeting later.

Visuals: you don’t need a degree in architecture to understand a picture. Wallpaper the meeting room with images, concepts, and examples to make provide more effective communication.

Schedule: the schedule for conducting the Kickoff Visioning session is broken down into 4 steps. The result is a consensus-built design generated from the entire team in a half-day session. 

-Mark Paskanik is a Senior Architect at CRB. This article originally appeared on CRBlogs. CRB is a CFE Media content partner.