Designing For Research & Development / Laboratory Facilities

Designing for Research & Development / Laboratory Facilities

Designing for Research & Development / Laboratory Facilities

Want to learn more? Please contact Dan Madru, LEED AP:
617.226.4122  |  email Dan

We at Margulies Perruzzi Architects are passionate about design. And we love our clients, who work in the corporate, professional services, healthcare, and real estate development sectors. But we have vast experience designing for R&D and Labs for advanced technologies and life sciences.

These environments of sophisticated scientific inquiry and innovation are designed by our R&D/Lab studio team led by lab expert, Dan Madru, LEED AP. This team has worked together for over a decade designing buildings, offices, labs, flexible R&D spaces, manufacturing facilities, and utility support areas for clients such as Seimens, Covidien, Millipore, Nuvera Fuel Cells, Teleflex, and many others.

The Lean process and management philosophy as part of our design process streamlines research and production for our clients. Applying Lean principles creates value and eliminates waste (i.e. materials, time) for staff, and provides a methodology for identifying efficiency, and then aligning processes to meet those needs.

Having designed many R&D and lab space across New England, MPA’s scope of services for R&D, manufacturing and laboratory facilities includes:

  • Interior and exterior architectural R&D/lab design
  • Site evaluation/selection and feasibility analysis
  • Inventory matrix and space requirements
  • Space planning
  • Space and equipment programming

By designing smart and effective lab spaces for science and research, we help our clients work more collaboratively and efficiently. This is the epitome, and direct effect, of superior and high-quality design.



Research and development facilities serve one of two purposes:

  • The development of new, innovative products
  • Discovering insights on scientific and technological advances in the

Regardless of the facility’s function, many research and development firms are start-up companies working with the financial assistance of either a public or private investor. Outside funding typically results in a strict budget with little to no room for additional or non-essential features. Instead, the financial focus is aimed directly towards developing new products and services that fill market needs. This is where it is critical for all design team members to fully understand the design challenges and associated cost implications.

With careful design and budget considerations, MPA has assisted many R&D industry leaders with creating a space that not only fosters the true value of R&D to a marketplace, but also one that transforms the way staff individuals conducts their work and how it directly and positively effects their productivity and creativity.


The goal and purpose of a manufacturing facility is straightforward: to utilize large-scale industrial operations to produce and process raw materials into a finished product. As simple as this purpose seems, the design is anything but simple.

For an architect, it is critical to not only support the current standards and processes, but to further elevate the facility’s success by designing and developing spaces that specifically support better production and processing, shipping and receiving, and the distribution of the finished good.

MPA’s design team brings an unparalleled skillset to manufacturing facilities of all shapes and sizes. Relocation, interior fit-up, multi-building renovation —  all of these environments require the same level of design sophistication and innovation. Utilizing lean design principles ensures flexibility and helps our clients streamline research and production.


Designing effective and successful lab environments requires an in-depth and detailed understanding of industry regulations, required lab equipment, and integrated technology. Just as critical is a thorough understanding of the daily ebb and flow of how staff efficiently inhabits the space and how that supports the lab’s overall goal towards the next breakthrough.

MPA’s experience in lab design spans from programming, space planning and office design, all of which reflect inquiry, responsiveness, discovery, and performance, thus providing our clients with the foundation they need for their next groundbreaking innovation.



MPA’s relationship with Siemens spans 10 years, since they were known as Ciba Corning, and then Bayer before becoming Siemens. Our most challenging project with them included relocating 100,000 square feet of technically complex laboratory and office space in less than one year to Norwood, MA. What added to the challenge were the enormous financial penalties Siemens would face if it failed to vacate its former space on time. The designers facilitated real-time exchanges with end users, executives and construction professionals to develop customized plans to accomplish Siemens’ program, budget and schedule requirements. MPA’s design process alone reduced the project schedule by at least six months; from project inception to move in, the facility was completed in eight months.

Some of the specialized features of the project included:

  • 80,000 square feet of open and private offices
  • 20,000 square feet of laboratories
  • Anechoic chamber for radiated immunity testing
  • Environmental chamber with set point temperature and humidity
  • A shielded room for a scanning electron microscope
  • Microbiology laboratories
  • Reagent evaluation laboratories and their associated incubator rooms
  • Cold rooms
  • Chemical storage
  • Waste storage

To construct a biosafety level II lab within the shell of a former office and manufacturing facility, the existing infrastructure had to be modified to support Siemens’ specialized requirements. Some of the upgrades included:

  • New emergency, life safety and UPS power systems
  • Structural reinforcement extending to the building footings for equipment support
  • Room pressurization
  • Strict temperature and humidity control
  • Central deionized water and pH waste treatment systems
  • Ventilation systems for fume hoods and biosafety cabinets
  • Distribution of a mixture of compressed biological gases to laboratory benches via a central tank and manifold system


SIEMENS | Norwood, MA


As a global provider of medical devices used in critical care and surgery, Teleflex retained MPA to design a building expansion in Jaffrey, NH consisting of 12,000 square foot vertical extrusion tower used in the manufacturing of medical grade tubing. Due to the complexity of this project, MPA worked closely with structural and MEP/FP consultants to ensure this very busy three-shift manufacturing plant remained active and online without any unexpected shutdowns or disruptions in daily productivity. The image below shows the vertical extrusion tower.


TELEFLEX | Jaffrey, NH


Metabolix is an investor-funded, publicly-held, innovation-driven bioscience company delivering sustainable solutions to the plastics, chemicals and energy industries. MPA has been retained by Metabolix on multiple projects throughout a five year relationship. In our latest project together in Cambridge, MA, MPA supported the research and development of their new products by renovating their current offices to a new pilot manufacturing and process development space. One task included integrating a green house, requiring MPA to fully investigate an ideal location within their proposed facility that would support harvesting, plant growth, and related research activities within their current programming. Due to the program’s complexity and required functions of the R&D space, MPA additionally coordinated all structural, venting and heating, utilities, and plumbing.


METABOLIX | Cambridge, MA


Nuvera, a global leader in the development and advancement of multi-fuel processing and fuel cell technology, acquired 110,000 square feet of space in a former light manufacturing warehouse. They asked MPA to assist with the programming, designing and development of their new space in Billerica, MA. This award-winning project consisted of:

  • 40,000 square feet of office space
  • A 20,000 square foot laboratory
  • 19,000 square feet of manufacturing space
  • 20,000 square feet for:
    • training center
    • café
    • shipping/receiving area
    • mechanical room
    • lobby/museum
    • common areas

MPA’s lab designs addressed Nuvera’s need to manage compressed gases (natural gas, hydrogen, nitrogen, and calibration gases), cooling requirements (chilled water loop), exhaust, DI/RO water supply, waste water (non-hazardous) removal and reformer exhaust facilities. In order to create a space that would work for Nuvera’s culture and business operations, MPA began a programming workshop and a series of interviews with personnel from each department to identify a layout and organization of offices and facilities that would work best for them. It was critical that each lab had the necessary utilities, including gases, water, exhaust and power. In addition, the labs had to be designed with flexibility to allow engineers to interchange labs so that projects could be conducted in any of the multiple labs. To address this challenge, the design team implemented a centralized services corridor running between two rows of labs, allowing any of the utilities to be used by all of the labs, and allowing for easy access to utilities and services.



NUVERA | Billerica, MA


MPA designed and managed the relocation and interior fit-up of this large-scale, technologically-advanced government airborne surveillance and reconnaissance corporation encompassing 200,000 square feet over four floors in two separate buildings. In addition to the 125 offices, 400 workstations and 30 conference rooms that comprise the new space, MPA also facilitated the design of 65,000 square feet of electronic lab and manufacturing areas. The facility includes 16-foot ceilings in the manufacturing area, four crane hoists, 400Hz and 50Hz power requirements, and Electrostatic Discharge flooring placement. The project goal for this relocation was clear: to increase lab and manufacturing productivity by improving workflow. The project was on a very tight schedule, and project coordination as well as technology played a major role in meeting these requirements. MPA used many LEED principals including the re-use of as many non-structural components as possible (carpet, doors, MEP).


This is a top tier supplier to the life sciences industry, and serves as a strategic partner for scientists, engineers and researchers. This innovative company has retained MPA for multiple projects over our 8 year relationship. They first hired us in 2005 to renovate and redesign their campus in New Hampshire with the goal of creating a clean manufacturing space for better production processes of raw and finished goods. MPA redesigned and converted an existing warehouse to a new clean room and office space. This project included the design and coordination of all new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and support space for manufacturing equipment controls including:

  • Five customized suppression systems
  • Chemical storage and distribution
  • Waste storage and disposal
  • Life safety and EHS concerns

Most recently, the firm retained MPA to renovate multiple buildings at their Massachusetts campus, including the development of a 18,000 square foot clean room production space. MPA redesigned two buildings by converting existing warehouse spaces into an H2 Pilot Plant and renovated office space. The project included warehouse, manufacturing and lab space. Included in the lab design was a hazardous material supply and waste storage bunker, and a cold room.