The design challenge for the SuperLab at Carleton University’s Steacie Building for Chemistry was twofold: The team was to adapt and reuse an existing facility that had not been significantly updated since its original construction in 1964—and the project had to be completed in time for the upcoming academic year.
The team set out to create a space that would optimize the lab space and improve its safety. The new SuperLab design stripped away shear walls and consolidated four existing labs into open teaching modules that allowed the program to increase its enrollment from 96 students to its goal of 124.
The project, delivered on time and 20 percent under budget, earned a Lab of the Year Special Mention Award from R&D Magazine. The publication noted that the design “converted a dreary-looking chemistry lab at Carleton University into a large, exciting, colorful teaching lab that brings new life and increased enrollment possibilities to the university.”
Additional improvements included flexible lab furniture with state-of-the-art benches, 45 fume hoods to accommodate more student chemists and teaching zones equipped with live A/V cameras and screens to assist in managing larger class sizes.
HOK served as architect of record, with Morrison Hershfield as prime consultant.