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Plant & Food Research Genomics Laboratory, New Zealand

We developed an innovative structural design for Plant & Food Research Genomics Laboratory in Mt Albert, Auckland. The three storey, 3900m2 laboratory includes generic wet PC2 capable facilities, glass houses and header houses for containment research and controlled environment rooms.

Our design avoided the structure intruding into the ceiling space, maximising available space for building services in this services rich environment.

The key focus of our design team was to minimise the intrusion of structural elements into operational spaces. Steel braced frames that provide lateral support to the building under wind and earthquake loading for seismic design were situated around the perimeter of the building, which in conjunction with the detailing of long-span flooring systems resulted in only two lines of internal columns in a 1300m2 floor plate.

Recognising the importance of maximising available space for routing of building services in this services rich environment, our team developed an innovative and cost-effective custom steel beam design that incorporated support of the floor system within the depth of the beam, which eliminated any intrusion of the structure into the ceiling space. A long span floor system is susceptible to floor vibrations and must be within the limits of sensitive laboratory equipment. Accordingly, we undertook detailed vibration analyses of the floor system, which demonstrated the suitability of the proposed scheme.

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