The design of research and development (R&D) laboratories is adjusting to changing scientific needs by emphasising adaptability, collaboration and efficient service infrastructure. At Arup, our goal is to create spaces that can accommodate these evolving research requirements while fostering innovation and collaboration among scientists.

In recent years, researchers have become more specialised, narrowing their focus to explore intricate aspects of their discipline. Rather than accommodate this shift through bespoke laboratory layouts for each scientific branch, the focus is now on more universal and adaptable spaces and infrastructure. 

Arup’s experience in the laboratories and R&D sectors has seen our design solutions shift from fixed lab arrangements to that of adaptable configurations that best meet future needs long after the project has been handed over for occupancy. These projects prioritise technology and tools over custom designs. Additionally, plug-and-play service infrastructure ensures seamless reconfiguration. We provide technical advice and solutions to clients prioritising flexibility, while advising on ways to reduce costs and tighten timelines through standardisation of design and prefabrication.

As labs evolve to become more collaborative, interdisciplinary and digitally enabled, we can also advise on strategies including open-plan lab layouts. These and other strategies can incorporate diverse working environments, such as informal collaborative meeting spaces, semi-private workstations and quiet zones for focused tasks.