The World Laureates Association (WLA) Artificial Intelligence Lab (‘AI Lab’), a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to advanced AI research, has officially opened in Shanghai. In close collaboration with PLP Architecture, Arup provided comprehensive laboratory design consultancy and review services to realise this world-class facility.

Inspired by a CPU, the 47,400m2 building features a central Super Lab and specialist labs for flexible, high-tech development, and on-site data centres to minimise data transfer latency. The lab is designed to showcase AI advancements to the public while fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration among scientists and researchers through thoughtfully designed spaces, with a strong focus on sustainability.

To bring the design vision to life, the Arup team conducted foundational research to identify the key design features required for AI labs to meet future needs. This encompassed feasibility assessments on typology, scale of spaces and elements.

We formulated the comprehensive evaluation criteria for this new type of space. Our professional laboratory consulting services met complex requirements, from creating a people-oriented experience and facilitating efficient collaboration to configuring spaces for precision experimental equipment. We set new reference standards and developed a theoretical research roadmap for the future spatial design of complex scientific research facilities such as AI labs and data centres. 

In this project, Arup revolutionised the traditional design of research buildings. We anticipated future trends and introduced an innovative, comprehensive laboratory assessment system that emphasises smart spaces, collaboration, sustainability and health, ensuring our designs remain flexible and responsive to evolving needs.

Xin Wang

Associate Director, China Architecture Design Lead of Arup