Consigli installed epoxy floorings, fume hoods with a new exhaust duct to the adjacent building rooftop,
and limited fixed furniture (hoods, sinks and wall cabinets). All images: Consigli Construction Co. Inc.
The lab features flexible workspace, adjustable workstations and rolling features that can be
reconfigured as needed.
Consigli Construction Co. Inc.
Gateway Park is a research and inno- vation center in Worcester, Mass., owned by Worcester Polytechnic
Institute (WPI). Inside this mixed-use
biotechnology facility sits the WPI Gateway
Lab, built by Consigli Construction Co.
Inc. Originally planned for other use, WPI
decided to develop the space into a research
and teaching lab and brought in Consigli as
the construction manager. The space posed
a unique challenge, as it was subterranean
and had zero natural light.
The team’s goals were to:
• Construct a new and expanded space
• Provide a flexible and collaborative
• Ensure low vibration space to avoid
• Utilize undeveloped space in Gateway
• Maintain existing fit and finish stan-
dards established in Gateway
Consigli worked collaboratively with its
design-build architect partner and the WPI
team to develop a plan. At the top of the list
was to make sure that the space, which is
below ground and part of an exterior base-
ment, be continually adaptable to WPI’s
research needs—providing this flexibility
was paramount to the project. Everything
in the lab—from benches to cabinets—was
built on wheels and can be reconfigured in
a short amount of time. Even the utilities
are easily adaptable.
Egress and maximizing space within an
exterior basement space has its challenges,
but through numerous renditions and code
review, a plan was laid out that resolved
Most lab spaces require utility services
greater than what is included in a standard
build out, including fume hood exhaust/
return air, process piping and drainage.
The space was already built to ensure no
high groundwater infiltrated the space,
so the floor and membrane had to be left
intact. The final construction applied
the most practical layout by utilizing all
existing connection points for sinks, drainage and conduit runs, including venting
exhaust to the adjunct rooftop through
Providing researchers with a low
vibration space was essential to ensuring
images and experiments are not disrupted.
This was the reason the basement was a
desirable space. The best way to achieve
low vibration is to place equipment on
slab, grade or heavily reinforced structures
(steel beam and supports). Consigli made
sure the slab was not disturbed and no
penetrations were made in the floor.
WPI wanted both a beautiful lab space
and one where scientists and students
would want to work. To bring natural
light into the lab and brighten the space,
the team installed four skylight structures
within the existing concrete roof deck, add-
ing new structural steel to support these
units. The Consigli team had to be sure
that the skylights were installed safely and
securely and were weather tight.
Getting equipment into the lab during
Build a flexible and collaborative lab while maximizing space