Purdue University Physics Optical Laboratory Renovation
West Lafayette, Indiana
The Physics Department at Purdue wanted to repurpose approximately 2,876 sft of old storage space in the basement into research space for the atomic, molecular, and optical department. The American Structurepoint team created a laboratory space, an office, and an optical laboratory research area. The optional laboratory was divided into two areas; one with tight environmental controls and one with standard environmental conditions that could be maintained by a normal mechanical system in the basement. The tight environmental controlled space will be maintained by the use of an environmental chamber so that the researcher can control temperature and humidity to their required criteria and minimal deviation over an extended period of time. Inside the environmental chamber, we created an isolated floor to eliminate vibration transfer from the building.
Over the isolated floor we constructed a steel-frame structure to support the testing equipment computers so that the equipment didn’t create any vibration that could be transferred into the research. The space outside the environmental chamber is the second optical lab and has a work area for preparation work. All the walls in this space have been painted a dark green so that the space can be used in a dark room environment to reduce any minimal light reflection. To help control the transfer of dust, bacteria, etc., all existing ductwork was wrapped in a vinyl wrap encasing the old insulated ductwork and creating a totally new clean finished environment.
The office area is centrally located and is the connection point to all lab spaces. Within the office area, we created an open office concept with bright-colored walls and windows with views into the surrounding support spaces to try to infuse life into the basement area and help battle the basement/cave stereotype. To help make the spaces feel as large as possible, we also used exposed utility and structure to maximize the height of the spaces. East of the office area is a data room, where the servers are maintained along with a television monitor and repositionable tables. This space also can be used to study and analyze the data in a group environment.
The biological lab space is located at the lab’s northern end. This is the main area where the specimens are set up and reviewed prior to heading to the optic lab for testing. To assist with the visibility of the specimen, we have two different-colored epoxy countertops so that depending on the specimen, one can use whichever work surface provides a better contrast. We have also provided the researchers with a Laminar airflow biological safety cabinet, a Millipore, and an autoclave unit to perform their tasks. Helping to make their daily lives easier, we provided upper wall cabinets throughout the space with glass doors, which allows them to locate items easier visually.
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