Now in its 52nd year, the Laboratory of the Year Awards continue to recognize excellence in research laboratory design, planning and construction. Judging for this year’s competition took place on March 6, and was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of laboratory architects, engineers, equipment manufacturers and the editors of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design.

This annual international competition receives entries from the best new and renovated laboratories. Eligible projects represent a wide variety of laboratory types, including research, quality assurance/control, teaching, software development, environmental, clinical, forensic, and testing and standards.

The Laboratory of the Year is an annual competition that receives entries from the best new and renovated laboratories worldwide. The award was announced at the 2018 Laboratory Design Conference in Philadelphia by Bea Riemschneider, Laboratory Design Conference Chair/Editorial Director, ABM Science Group. She introduced Erin Hillhouse, Senior Associate, Project Manager, and David Pfeifer, Design Principal, from Anderson Mason Dale to accept the prize.

Bea Riemschneider, Laboratory Design Conference Chair/Editorial Director, ABM Science Group, announces the 2018 Laboratory of the Year Special Mention winner.

Metropolitan State University of Denver is the only public, four-year, “access” institution of higher education in Colorado, and boasts a very high acceptance rate. Most students are from the Denver metro area and many are first-generation students who are eligible for Pell grants. The Aerospace & Engineering Sciences (AES) building was conceived as an opportunity for the school to build on these traditions of inclusivity and community service, and serve as a link between local residents and the region’s flourishing aerospace industry.

The University decided to re-organize its existing Engineering Technology Sciences, Computer Science and Industrial Design programs into a new facility to support its baccalaureate degree, created to accommodate Colorado’s growing manufacturing workforce— specifically the aerospace industry.

The AES facility is truly a community effort, leasing space to local startup companies as well as utilized donated equipment, such as 3D metal printers, from area companies. Large windows gives passers-by a glimpse of what’s going on inside the laboratories and building systems are on display.

Beacon to the City. Image: Ryan Dravitz

Flexibility is paramount, with services in the lab distributed from overhead so that equipment can easily be changed out when newer models come in. All labs are planned on a modular basis so that, if necessary, it’s easy to reallocate them to adapt to long-range program changes in the future. Ground-floor labs are dedicated to fabrication and facilities on the upper floors are designed for teaching subjects associated with the advanced manufacturing aerospace industry, such as electronics, computer science and thermal dynamic labs, and drafting and design studios. The building is on track for LEED Gold certification, and is also projected to achieve 18 percent Energy Cost savings over ASHRAE 90.1 2010 baseline requirements.

ADV Machines & Robotics Hall Laboratory. Image: David Lauer

“The Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building at Metropolitan State University of Denver is a marvelous facility that shows off the importance of education,” said Bea Riemschneider, Laboratory Design Conference Chair/Editorial Director, ABM Science Group. “The building is a striking example of what can be done on a limited budget, and its value makes it worthy of recognition. Additionally, it showcases the spirit of collaboration between the University, local community and the Colorado aerospace industry. We congratulate Anderson Mason Dale and the rest of the team on their Laboratory of the Year Special Mention win.”

Anderson Mason Dale Architects of Denver, Colo., was the submitter and architect of the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building.

“The Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building at MSU Denver deserves its Laboratory of the Year Special Mention recognition in no small part due to the combined effort of Anderson Mason Dale and the rest of the team who worked on the building,” said MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor, Laboratory Design. “The synergy between everyone involved with this project is evident in the final result—a beautiful building with state-of-the-art resources and enthusiasm from its students and faculty as well as the surrounding community and the aerospace industry.”   

Anderson Mason Dale's David Pfeifer, Design Principal (speaking), and Erin Hillhouse, Senior Associate, Project Manager, present their winning project to the Laboratory Design Conference audience.

Structural engineering was done by KLAA of Denver. Mechanical and plumbing was handled by Cator, Ruma & Associates of Lakewood, Colo. Electrical was done by BCER Group of Arvada, Colo. Technology/Security was provided by Rimrock Technology, a BCER Group, from Colorado Springs, Colo.

Laboratory work was handled by Research Facilities Design of San Diego, while landscaping was done by Civitas of Denver. Martin & Martin of Lakewood, Colo., handled civil engineering. Code was done by Advanced Consulting Engineers, also of Lakewood.

Acoustics/AV was provided by K2 Audio of Boulder, Colo. Cost was handled by Cumming of Englewood, Colo. Sustainability was handled by France Sustainable Solutions of Littleton, Colo. Energy Modeling was taken care of by Weidt Group and Furniture Selection was handled by Gallun Snow, both of Denver. The Lab Casework Contractor was ISEC Inc. of Greenwood, Colo.

Laboratory Steel Casework/Cabinets, Epoxy Resin Counters, and Laboratory Fume Hoods were all provided by Kewaunee Scientific Corp. of Statesville, N.C.

Wood Work Tops came from Michigan Maple Block Co. of Petoskey, Mich. Laboratory Fittings, as well as Laboratory Safety Shower/Eyewash Equipment, were provided by Water Saver Faucet Co. of Chicago. Electronics Benches were by Production Basics of Billerica, Mass. Overhead Service Carrier/Heavy Duty Shelving came from Valley Lab Furnishings of Chino, Calif. Inter Dyne Systems of Norton Shores, Mich., provided Drying Racks. Lab Stools and Chairs-KI came from Canter & Associates LLC of Lakewood, Colo., as did Lab Stools-Dauphin. The Audio Visual Contractor was AVI Systems of Englewood, Colo.

The 52nd annual Laboratory of the Year Awards are a joint program of R&D Magazine and Laboratory Design, publications of Advantage Business Marketing.

About Laboratory Design

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