BOSTON – January 24, 2018 – Laboratory Design spoke with Daniel Madru, LEED AP, Senior Project Director with Margulies Perruzzi Architects in Boston.
Laboratory Design (LD): How did you get into your field? Daniel Madru (DM): Since I can remember, I have always enjoyed working with my hands and trying to figure out how things work. I would spend time building model cars and airplanes, and taking things apart just to put them back together again. (Sometimes they didn’t work right after doing that, but that’s another story.) I also enjoyed art class and participated in after-school art programs at a local museum. My father was a plumber with his own company, and I learned a lot from him just by talking about his day. His experience helped me to understand how buildings work and what his part was in the construction process. As a high school freshman, I took my first technical drawing class and loved it. Senior year, I created my own design for a small ranch-style house and spent half the year drawing up plans for it. I then built a half-inch scale model in wood shop, crafting all the scaled components down to the 2×4 studs. I constructed see-through, breakaway areas so that viewers could see how the house was built. I have been designing and working in this field ever since.
LD: What’s a common mistake made by those working on designing/constructing a laboratory? DM: A common mistake I see is lab designers failing to check (and re-check) the lab equipment list and to verify all the utility requirements. It is critical to document the size, location and clearances around each piece of equipment, as well as any other ancillary support requirements to properly operate and run the equipment.
LD: If you had to do something else for a living, what would it be? DM: I come from a construction background and I really enjoy working with my hands, so I would probably be in the building trade, either in hands-on construction or as a developer.
LD: If you could give just one piece of advice to others in your field, what would it be? DM: Technology and science evolve rapidly, so you can’t be complacent in the field of lab design. Each day, there is something to learn that will advance how I do my job or advise my clients.
LD: What was your favorite college class? Was it related to your current career? DM: I really enjoyed structures class. I loved learning how structure works and how to apply math and algebra to the practice of it.
LD: Can you describe a funny, exciting or meaningful moment in your career? DM: Early in my career, I was working on an interior renovation for an office space and created a header detail for a nook to house built-in file cabinets. The contractor had some questions about my design. When I showed up on-site to speak with him, he looked at me and noticed how young I was, and I could see from his expression that he did not have much faith in what I might have to say. He presented himself with an attitude and questioned my detail and how to build it. Yet, he didn’t know me or my background in construction. We discussed his questions and I provided a few solutions to the problem. By the time I left, his attitude had changed and we had a newfound, mutual respect for each other. After that, every time I walked on-site, he was one of the first guys to come up to me and say hello. We stayed in touch for many years until he retired.
LD: What advice do you have for people just starting their career, or for students who are thinking of majoring in architecture/engineering/etc.? DM: This is a business that cannot be learned in one day, week, month or year. Design is a lifetime journey of discovery, and every day should be spent with your eyes and mind wide open. Remember there is always something else to learn each and every day.
LD: What do you like to do in your spare time? DM: I like to putter around the house and work on different things. My wife and I love to ride on the motorcycle and visit with friends and family. I enjoy playing ice hockey and strumming my guitar.