Higher Education: Laboratory

University of Southern Maine

Science Building C300

This 21st Century lab and collaborative learning space provides students with an enhanced learning environment while encouraging teamwork among students and faculty. Through “live” 3D digital design sessions with the lab users, the Lavallee Brensinger design team presented, discussed, and explored multiple layout options to allow users to clearly understand the space from both the professor and student perspectives.  The key to the design is the oval shaped “Bean Table” providing an ergonomic configuration, which encourages collaboration among each group of four students, and improves learning and increases safety. The layout allows clear line-of-site between students and lab instructor, promoting greater interaction and allows for greater supervision. The Bean Table design provides ample and accessible work surface incorporating a reagent shelf, electrical, water, and gasses at the bench top level, and casework below for storage.

Transparency through punched openings incorporated into the corridor wall offer "science-on-display" and an opportunity for current and potential students a view into the lab.  Energy saving features including high efficiency LED lighting and low flow fume hoods were integrated into the design. This new lab allows the university the flexibility of hosting a variety of functions including undergraduate research, STEM programs and collaborative community studies.