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.

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 Mehrdad Yazdani, Principal, and Stephen Copenhagen, LEED AP, Principal, CannonDesign, to accept the Laboratory of the Year award.

Mehrdad Yazdani (speaking) and Stephen Copenhagen of CannonDesign accept the 2018 Laboratory of the Year award for CJ Blossom Park.

South Korea’s CJ Corporation sought to combine its previously distinct pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food products businesses into a single scientific discovery center. The resulting new R&D headquarters in Suwon, completed in March 2017, is a 1.2 million sf building that accommodates more than 50 different types of spaces including labs, cafes and coffee shops, fitness areas, sleeping pods and an interior “living forest.” The focus of the building, as was stated in their Laboratory of the Year entry, was to provide balance in the lives of those who do “very intensive, focused work … so they can push discoveries and progress forward without getting burned out.”

CJ Blossom Park’s architecture was inspired by CJ’s brand identity, a three-petal blossom which the company says represents a “better life” of happiness, enjoyment and convenience. The three “petals” in CJ Blossom Park’s floor plan each house a tower assigned to a specific science. The towers are color-coordinated to maintain consistency with CJ’s brand identity—orange representing food science, red representing pharmaceutical science and blue representing biotechnology. The three towers rise up around a central atrium, which provides a sunlight-bathed area to promote interconnectivity and engagement.

Typical lab floor plan featuring the three “petals” of Biotech (blue), Food (orange) and Pharma (red). Image: CannonDesign, submitting architect

“Our expert panel of Laboratory of the Year judges was quite impressed with the level of detail and care that went into this submission,” said Bea Riemschneider, Laboratory Design Conference Chair/Editorial Director, ABM Science Group. “CJ Blossom Park is an excellent example of what happens when a lab facility pushes the boundaries of science, while at the same time showing great consideration for the comfort and safety of those who work in the building. It’s a very attractive facility with a grand framework. We congratulate CannonDesign and the rest of the team on their Laboratory of the Year win.”

Bea Riemschneider, Laboratory Design Conference Chair/Editorial Director, ABM Science Group, introduces the 2018 Laboratory of the Year winners.

Mehrdad Yazdani, Principal with CannonDesign in Los Angeles, was the submitter and design architect of CJ Blossom Park. CannonDesign also handled the laboratory planning, lighting design, environmental graphics, interior design and MEP engineering.

“We are proud to have brought our client’s vision of the ‘Only One’ to life with an incredibly innovative laboratory workplace environment,” said Mehrdad Yazdani, design director of the Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign. “Our integrated team of expert lab planners, designers, engineers and architects should be commended for a job well done.”

Southeast elevation. Labs begin at the second floor and include all subsequent floors. Image: CannonDesign, submitting architect

The executive architect was Hyungsup Sim, AIA, Vice President, Heerim Architects & Planners of Seoul, South Korea.

Structural engineer was ARUP’s Matt Williams of Los Angeles. The civil engineer was Duksung Alpha Civil Eng & Consulting; the landscape architect was PARKKIM; the contractor/CM was Chun-Hak Kim, CEO of CJ E&C; and acoustics were done by Sung-been Cho, Director of Research, Korea Soltech Co., all based out of Seoul. Ray Sinclair, Ph.D., of RWDI in Guelph, Ontario, provided wind consultancy and other consultancy. Waldner, of Boston, provided fume hoods and lab casework manufacturing.

“The Laboratory of the Year competition brings together some of the finest minds in the laboratory design/build community,” said MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor, Laboratory Design. “CJ Blossom Park was a true team effort, with so many great companies collaborating in its design and construction—such teamwork is a hallmark of our Laboratory of the Year winners.”

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

Enclosed labs maximize openness by utilizing all glass for every partition. Image: Christopher Barrett Photography

About Laboratory Design

Laboratory Design ( serves the entire R&D/laboratory community involved in the design, construction and engineering of laboratory facilities. Our diverse content, created by experts in the industry, provides cutting-edge information on trends and techniques that make these mission-critical buildings more efficient, cost-effective and functional.

About R&D Magazine

Since its founding in 1959 as Industrial Research, R&D Magazine ( has served research scientists, engineers and technical staff at laboratories around the world, providing timely, informative news and useful technical articles that broaden readers’ knowledge of the research and development industry and improve the quality of their work. R&D Magazine is a publication of the Advantage Business Marketing Science Group, with sister brands including Laboratory Equipment, Bioscience Technology, Drug Discovery & Development, Laboratory Design, Scientific Computing, ALN and Controlled Environments.

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