We design innovative laboratories that accelerate the cycle of discovery.

We design innovative laboratories that accelerate the cycle of discovery.

Our research facilities provide academic institutions and commercial lab enterprises with the framework for cutting-edge research that moves ideas and technologies to the market at a faster rate.

Transforming Research Environments

We have a reputation for award-winning design excellence and experience with dynamic research facilities across the country and internationally. We have designed laboratories across a range of disciplines, from biomedical research to engineering and teaching labs, for both academic and commercial users. Projects range from purpose-built facilities to expansions within existing campus contexts. Our environmentally sustainable buildings reflect the progressive, optimistic spirit of our clients and enhance operational resilience.

Through our collaborative process, which engages all stakeholders and is mindful of the economic and functional pressures that bear on institutions, we challenge our clients to rethink how they engage with users and present their missions to the public.

Emerging Paradigms

Through our extensive experience, we have identified three emerging laboratory design paradigms:

The Startup Hub

These small-scaled, incubator facilities are highly flexible to support the evolving nature of new ideas. Shared facilities with specialized research cores reduce the barrier to entry that many young research groups and initiatives face.

The Wet Lab of the Future

The Wet Lab of the Future. New automation technologies and improvements in computer-generated models have altered the traditional wet-lab model. Reducing overall chemical use, increasing specialized core labs and high containment areas, and planning workspace for hybrid and cloud-based modalities supports new ways of collaborating.

A People-Focused Laboratory

A humanist approach to laboratory design brings scale to these often-sterile workspaces and improves the health and wellbeing of users. Elements such as ample daylight, air quality and natural materials, along with health and wellness amenities, create dynamic workplaces that help attract and retain top research talent.

Inherent in each design paradigm are three transforming architectural principles that provide the framework for successful research environments: Community, Growth and Wellbeing

Vassar College, Integrated Science Commons

Community and Connectivity

Each research facility we design builds on past knowledge to advance the idea of what “state-of-the-art” in laboratories means. Design solutions are driven by context: an isolated research campus is different from an urban university; an entrepreneurial start-up is different from a corporate pharmaceutical company. By responding to the unique needs of each client, well-designed laboratories can help attract top talent and create new pathways for future generations.

Our laboratory designs promote connectivity between many disciplinary groups and foster strong scientific communities.

As research becomes increasingly multidisciplinary, facilities must include spaces not just for experimentation but also for socialization, collaboration, and contemplation. Integrating thoughtfully considered elements throughout the building—such as shared conference rooms, seminar halls, and even cafes—is increasingly important. Today’s research facilities, like all contemporary work places, must incorporate interstitial and amenity spaces to create a dynamic “live-work-play” environment where both formal and informal interactions thrive.


Vassar College, Integrated Science Commons
We developed a highly effective programming process for Purdue University’s Engineering Flex Lab. Following a comprehensive survey of nationally recognized engineering research labs, we designed an entirely modular lab ecosystem of bench and support space, with a few carefully curated specialty spaces, including high-bay and low-vibration labs. The adjacent offices and graduate workspaces were likewise designed to adapt to the changing sizes and needs of research teams.

Future-Friendly Design

Because of the rapidly changing nature of research today, flexibility is essential to lab design.

Our team brings experience designing responsive, future-friendly facilities across the globe from which we have developed a comprehensive approach to programming, planning, detailing, and commissioning adaptable, efficient labs.

Flexibility offers greater opportunities for experimentation and reconfiguration when new technologies emerge.

With the rapid advancement of equipment technology and research pursuits, it is essential to design with an eye towards future innovations. Flexibility comes at a price, and careful decisions must be made relative to budget requirements. However, investments in smart infrastructure, with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems laid out to facilitate future changes and well-considered repeating modules, all have enduring value. Flexible planning can accommodate future space and equipment requirements as lab group sizes and researchers’ needs evolve.

New York Stem Cell Foundation, Research Institute Laboratory

Sustainability and Wellbeing

Unique to our integrated design approach is an emphasis on optimizing the quality of the working environment and creating positive communities where investigation and invention can thrive.

As a building typology, laboratories are notorious for high energy consumption. While facilities must meet the needs of a flexible research agenda, they should also reduce their total carbon footprints. Reductions are achieved primarily through careful integration of “free energy” associated with heating, cooling, lighting, and even ventilation. Optimizing the design for reduced loads related to these human safety and comfort criteria helps to reduce the total energy demand.


University of Oregon, Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact includes spaces for experimentation but for socialization, collaboration, and contemplation.

Our Laboratory Design

Since 2000, Ennead has completed major laboratories for private companies, institutions, and educational clients around the country and the world. These projects represent close to 6,000,000 square feet, and over $3,000,000,000 of investment from our development partners, many of whom are repeat clients. We are the national leader in vertical lab buildings–those above 12-stories–having completed more than any other firm.

Biomedical Research and Life Sciences

Our wet labs for institutional and academic life sciences create dynamic research environments that integrate emerging technologies and foster collaboration that turns research into tangible improvements in human health.

Teaching Labs

Our teaching laboratories support hands-on training across a wide array of disciplines. They reinforce community, inspire curiosity and expose students to diverse learning experiences within each of their unique campus contexts . They aspire to create a more equitable future through their humanistic approach to space, materiality and transparency.

Commercial Labs

Our commercial life science laboratories are designed for optimal flexibility to create development opportunities for life-science start ups, independent researchers, or established commercial laboratories. Mixed-use programs, where desired, engage local communities and businesses to create a 24-7 “live-work-play” environment.

High Rise / Vertical

Our High-Rise Laboratories respond to their constrained urban sites. Strategically integrating diverse research groups across multiple floors enhances collaboration among groups, and distinct civic spaces and street-level connectivity create a vibrant research community.

Ennead’s Lab Center Leadership

The Lab Center engages in a wide variety of issues, such as tracking current and best practice laboratory design trends, attending and speaking at national laboratory design conferences, researching lab building typology history, and attending laboratory facility tours and lectures. The Center also compiles benchmark data on our laboratory projects as well as available metrics of other major national institutions. Sustainability is also a high priority in our design of research buildings. Acknowledging that laboratories are notorious for high energy consumption, the Lab Center offers the critical knowledge on how to optimize passive architectural and active mechanical strategies to reduce energy consumption and achieve high performance, flexible, and resilient buildings for science and research. Regularly sharing these strategies and emerging trends with the offices allows us to better inform designers for current and future work as well as illustrate a range of design solutions and innovations.

Emily Kirkland

Emily Kirkland


Lab Practice Leader

Jarrett Pelletier

Jarrett Pelletier


Lab Practice Leader

Lois Mate

Lois Mate

Associate Principal

Lab Practice Leader

Thought Leadership


"Princeton Employs Kit-of-Parts Approach to New Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex"

Creating the Urban Life Science Hub of the Future

Ennead’s symposium Creating the Urban Life Science Hub of the Future explored ways in which the life science industry is evolving and investigated how we can further develop this industry in the greater New York area.

Inclusive Labs

Lois Mate and Emily Kirkland presented "Inclusive Laboratories: Design and Infrastructure in Support of Research and People" as part of LabDesign's Facilities & Infrastructure webinar series

Chaitan Khosla

Ennead's client at Stanford University describes how the new interdisciplinary research complex works for the Sarafan ChEM-H and the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institutes.

Building a Life Science Core in the Big Apple

Leading up to Ennead’s Life Sciences symposium, Ennead partners Peter Schubert and Don Weinreich produced a paper, Building a Life Science Core in the Big Apple.

People Focused Labs

Todd Schliemann and Jarrett Pelletier are presented a webinar for Lab Manager on “What a People-Focused Lab Looks Like.”