Lab Tours 2018

Post-Conference Lab Tours- Wednesday, April 25, 2018

As part of the 2018 Laboratory Design Conference agenda, tours of exemplary lab facilities including those to which attendees would not otherwise have access are an integral part of the overall Laboratory Design Conference experience. Attendees will get the chance to visit innovative laboratory facilities in the Philadelphia area on Wednesday, April 25. Breakfast and round-trip transportation from the conference hotel to these sites will be provided. Please note that a separate fee will apply for admission to the lab tours. Both morning and afternoon tours are being offered.

Sign up today, as space will be limited!


Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Colket Translational Research Building

Tour Start Time: 9:00 a.m.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Colket Translational Research Building houses biomedical research, clinical research, clinical support office and support facilities.

The tower currently includes 11 floors, and is vertically expandable to include an additional 15 floors (11 lab floors plus mechanical) in the future. The building includes 35,000 sf of flexible research floors sub-divided into multiple compartments for fire separation. The entire complex is built on a four-floor plinth containing lab support space, cGMP, Central Utility Plant and Loading/Service areas.

Behind the glass façade lies a carefully woven configuration of spaces that provide flexibility, functionality and clarity to the research environment. The building’s intriguing dichotomy of glass curtain wall and terra cotta cladding projects an image worthy of the nation’s preeminent children’s hospital. The solid terra cotta rain screen clad form acts as an anchor for the building and houses the building’s laboratory core, its primary function.

The laboratory concept consist of open flexible laboratories with adjacent procedure rooms designed to support various research functions. The laboratory spaces are flexible to accommodate changes in researcher ratios and work methods. A shared linear equipment room provides space for freezers and other noisy, heat-producing lab equipment.

The design of the research tower demonstrates environmental responsibility through the use of energy efficient HVAC strategies and renewable building materials. Engineering highlights of the project include a glycol loop heat exchanger, real-time air sampling control suite (Aircuity System) for lab support systems, Venturi valve room pressurization control, high momentum induced flow exhausters (Strobic fans), variable volume laboratory HVAC, occupancy sensor lighting control/daylighting and a LEED gold rating.

Building opened: October 2009
Submitting architect: Ballinger

University of Pennsylvania Stephen A. Levin Building (Neural and Behavioral Sciences)

Tour Start Time: 9:00 a.m.- FULL

The genesis for the new Stephen A. Levin Building, a hub for neural and behavioral sciences, is the acknowledgement that the study of complex behaviors is a fundamental focus of life sciences in the 21st century. Seeking to create greater integration of the study of genes, the brain and behavior, the University of Pennsylvania desired to bring together their psychology, biology and behavioral sciences programs into a common facility. The University engaged SmithGroupJJR to provide master planning, programming, lab planning , architectural design and engineering for this state-of-the-art integrated sciences building, which acts as an iconic center and connector for a newly-defined life sciences precinct.

SmithGroupJJR responded with a logical bar design for the NBS building that abuts an existing lab facility and links to another via an underground tunnel. A below-grade auditorium extends south with a green roof, creating a generous connection to a revered campus botanical garden and allowing for future expansion while also activating a pedestrian plaza. While the labs require a carefully controlled environment, collaborative and circulation areas enjoy a luminous glass volume with an aluminum sunscreen that provides soft, yet expansive, light throughout the day. In addition, the innovative biomorphic sunscreen mitigates glare and heat gain while presenting a dramatic new public face for the University along the busy edge of campus. The NBS Building speaks to a dynamic new direction in life sciences, with various AIA accolades including the AIA/ Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE), Educational Facility Design Award - Award of Merit in 2017.

Building opened: June 2016
Submitting architect: SmithGroupJJR

The Wistar Institute, Robert and Penny Fox Tower Addition

Tour Start Time: 9:00 a.m. - FULL

Located in West Philadelphia, the Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent biomedical research institute. The Robert and Penny Fox Tower addition, completed in 2013 along with renovations to the original late 19th-Century building and 1970s addition, satisfies the Institute’s need for state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research and a stronger, more unified visual identity.

The project comprises a seven-story research tower, an iconic new entrance leading to a public Forum and a central utility plant. Located at the center of the complex and with links to other buildings, the design united the campus. The tower establishes a unique identity and marks the new entry along Spruce Street. Glass cladding promotes transparency and reinforces the open civic relationship between the Wistar Institute and its surroundings.

The research labs are located behind a double-skin façade to buffer the highly controlled environment of the labs from the exterior at the south façade. A high-performance curtain wall system with a ceramic frit glass on low-E insulated glazing provides ambient light and screened views into the lab space while deflecting heat gain. Interior glazing permits daylight to penetrate deep into the lab zone. Dual energy recovery neutral air HVAC with chilled beams provide outstanding flexible research environments with best-in-class energy performance.

The Forum, a sky-lit atrium, is the hub for scientific exchange, promoting the entrepreneurial culture of innovation that characterizes a successful independent research institute. The original mission of the Institute as a teaching museum is honored through displays, lectures and seminars engaging the broader research community.

Building opened: September 2014

Submitting architect: Ballinger

Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics 

Tour Start Time: 1:00 p.m.- FULL

The 30,000 sf Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies (CACT) combines Penn Medicine’s intellectual resources with Novartis’ leadership in the pharmaceutical industry to jointly find more effective treatments for cancer. The design concepts implemented in the center have doubled process efficiency, maximized daylighting and increased communication and collaboration between researchers. The CACT is poised to become a true facility of the future—an epicenter for the research and early clinical development of personalized cellular therapies for many forms of cancer.

Located on Penn Medicine’s campus in Philadelphia amidst both clinical and laboratory facilities, the CACT expands on Penn’s groundbreaking research using Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) technology, which enables a patient’s own immune cells to be reprogrammed outside of their body and re-infused to “hunt” for and potentially destroy tumors.

The design carefully considers how to create the best workplace environment possible for the 100 highly specialized employees. The strategic layout and organization of the laboratory environments ultimately reduces the time it takes to create the “hunter cells” for one patient by 50 percent. At the outset of this effort, it took an entire month to tackle this for each patient; now, it only takes two weeks.

Full height windows surround the laboratory and allow striking views of the surrounding city and, in effect, establish a very different environment from traditional manufacturing and interior laboratory design focused on compartmentalization. Additionally, the labs are open plan, which allow researchers from different teams to work together and not in silos. Designed with a centralized café space along with several other collaborative spaces, the CACT supports meaningful engagement and a dynamic work environment that fosters discovery.

Building opened: February 2016
Submitting architect: CannonDesign

Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building, Drexel University

Tour Start Time: 1:00 p.m.- FULL

In 2006, Drexel University unveiled a master plan that outlined a goal to reinvigorate its urban campus with buildings that achieved both architectural excellence and sustainable performance. The campus was re-planned to be landscaped to embrace the wider neighborhood. The Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building is the keynote building to be realized in this ambitious master plan.

Located at the corner of Chestnut and 33rd Street in Philadelphia, the Integrated Science Building provides a gateway landmark on Woodland Walk connecting the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel. It is a multi-disciplinary science facility organized around a five-story atrium, which is the central meeting place for faculty and students. Balconies and lounges at each level provide places for interaction. Connectivity is crucial in academic and research buildings. Boundaries between disciplines are dissolving and buildings need to facilitate connection.

The atrium features a four-story spiral staircase and an 80-foot living bio-wall with 1,500 tropical bromeliads. The green wall lends drama and beauty to the atrium but it is also plays an effective role in regulating air quality. This huge innovation connected to the mechanical system is a living biofilter, which achieves a vast improvement in air quality (80 percent) and also reduces the buildings’ energy consumption by 30 percent. It also won the Interior Green Wall Award of Excellence at the 2012 CitiesAlive Conference. The building received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, remarkable for a laboratory building, which typically has high energy requirements.

To enhance the learning environment, a high degree of internal transparency harvests natural light to the labs from expansive windows and the skylit atrium. The open plan of the teaching and research labs encourage connections.

The Integrated Sciences Building also served as a catalyst for challenging traditionally held notions of the planning process. Members of the academic, planning and management divisions of the administration were challenged by our design team to collaborate with one another to develop a common vision for the integration of sciences through teaching and research. The building itself stands as an elegant marriage of aesthetic, environmental, programmatic and economic issues.

Building opened: October 2011
Submitting architect: Diamond Schmitt Architects

Important Tour Information:

  • A lab tour is not included in your conference registration.  You must sign up separately.
  • Tours will run approximately 1 to 2 hours.
  • Lab tour attendance is limited. Space on the lab tours will be filled on a first-registered, first-served basis.
  • This fee is non-refundable for cancellations made within two weeks of the tour date.

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