Inside the Environmental Engineering Labs in Porter Hall at Carnegie Mellon University’s Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, students and faculty explore complex issues essential to the health of our planet, conduct cutting-edge research on treatment, characterization, and remediation strategies for water, soil, sediment, and waste.
Porter Hall was originally constructed in 1906, which created some design challenges for this project. The existing 6,900 SF lab and student office/work area was highly inefficient and compartmentalized into several small rooms. The poor spatial configuration was not conducive to the research environment, and the inflexible laboratory furniture and casework hampered the important work being conducted within the space.
These dated and inefficient components were replaced with overhead service carriers, flexible plug and play laboratory furniture and high efficient, ergonomic fume hoods.
Since the lab is essentially in the attic of the building, there was limited access to the natural light coming through the curved windows around the perimeter of the space; and most of the windows were blocked with equipment and casework. This presented an interesting design challenge that Mott’s high-performance NovaGuard™ fume hoods helped solve. The side viewing windows allowed for light to pass through the space, while also allowing views to the outside while working in the hoods. The bright LED lighting and extra high viewing area brings more light inside the hood.
The lab is broken up into two zones; the open ballroom lab area and the smaller specialty lab rooms including a microscopy room, mercury analyzation room, stock room, analytical equipment room, and separate biology lab that is certified Biosafety Level 2.
Along with the NovaGuard™ fume hoods, Mott and our dealer, Spencer-Virnoche, Inc. provided Optima™ 2550 benches, Altus™ tables, custom overhead ceiling service panels, flush overlay metal casework, mobile maple cabinets and custom floor to ceiling maple service chases. Finishes were a combination of Bright White paint, plain sliced maple with a natural stain and charcoal countertops.
The renovated labs now feature a bright, open, and flexible space that allows for the easy flow of people, materials, and equipment.