Most architectural firms will never need to create a building that can handle the transportation and testing of a 2,000-pound moose. But PCA’s extensive laboratory design experience prompted the state of New Hampshire to ask the firm for just that—and more. PCA’s plan for the new UNH Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory began with the firm’s regular practice of questioning every aspect of the challenge they were asked to meet.
That test began with a review of the UNH program for the proposed building. The functional requirements detailed in that document had inspired two previous failed attempts by other firms to meet the facility’s needs and its budget. PCA undertook a thorough review of the program to see how it met the needs of the students, lab technicians, and administrators who would be using the building. The firm saw that the segregation of lab spaces defined in the program missed the multiple benefits that consolidating them would afford. One common lab space formed the heart of PCA’s winning design. With it came improved lighting, better circulation, and the more convivial working environment enjoyed by a physically united team.
Those functional and social benefits, however, were only part of the design’s value. The elimination of hallways and other unnecessary spaces reduced the lab’s square footage by nearly 25%. That smaller footprint increased savings in a modern facility that met a set budget while maintaining the state’s high standards for safeguarding the public health.