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SCHLUMBERGER RESEARCH LABORATORIES

AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA


The program for this computer research facility, to be built on a site outside Austin required a laboratory that could adapt readily to changes in research-group size, and which would promote communication between individuals and groups. The solution offered a laboratory layout that met the client's programmatic needs while at the same time taking advantage of the building's site. Because the site warranted a design that harmonized with the landscape rather than standing out against it, the project was divided into a series of smaller buildings with earth berms built up against them to help integrate them into the landscape, reduce energy costs, and provide the client the campus atmosphere requested. The buildings and recreational facilities are arranged casually around a man-made lake, in the manner of an English landscape garden. The buildings, because of the earth berms, blend into their surroundings, and provide a pleasant atmosphere for employees while taking advantage of the pleasant vistas. Furthermore, the separation of the buildings encourages workers to go out and experience the landscape, rather than simply observe it from an office window. The laboratory design proposes a new type in the development of such spaces. It consists of a large, undifferentiated space in which the researchers' offices 9x9 foot mobile units would be placed. The units, which contain desks and shelves, are totally enclosed, except for a door and window on opposite sides. The researcher has complete control over the lighting, acoustics, and temperature of his unit, and he also enjoys the privacy of a more traditional office. The mobile units may be moved quickly and easily by forklift to a new location to accommodate any group size and configuration. The proximity of these units and the common space that results from their arrangement fosters communication within the research group. The laboratory design incorporates the best characteristics of the open office landscape flexibility and ease of communication with those of the traditional office, such as reduced noise levels, individual control of the environment, privacy, and a sense of permanence.



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