Synopsis: IMES aims to accelerate innovation across a spectrum of activities that span the discovery, design, and delivery of new medical devices and products. IMES combines two domains of knowledge to “advance the human condition,” to quote Terry Ragon. This requires collaboration from many groups of scientists, researchers, and professionals with diverse fields of expertise. IMES has rich ties to MIT, Harvard, Harvard Medical School, MGH, and other prominent institutions.
Detailed Description: Our challenge was to create spaces for groups of scientists, researchers, and professionals from diverse fields to cooperatively pursue research projects that were still evolving or not yet defined. To understand the types of science and research conducted at the Institute for Medical Engineering & Science (IMES) at MIT and how they would shape the workspace’s final design, our team conducted extensive interviews, laboratory visits, long discussions with all key stakeholders, and further research on IMES’s program. Through this process, we learned the types of activities that needed design support, as well as the particular relationships among principal investigators and researchers that could be enriched through different design strategies, which sometimes defied lab design conventions.
Our research results were assembled in a detailed document that included interview transcripts, key takeaways, best-case studies, and program compilation and analysis. Also, preliminary “test fits” were conducted to see how Building E-25’s third-floor plate might be organized around pre-established structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. This set the stage for all future steps the team would take.
The results of this process informed the final design, construction, and configuration of these spaces. The final design was documented in the “working drawings” and the technical renderings the builders required to price, spec, and construct the institute’s lab, office, and public. The intensive design and construction procedure yielded a custom-made environment tailored to the needs of IMES and its talented scientists and staff.
Everyone involved in the planning, design, and construction stages was highly motivated to create a collaborative atmosphere that would support scientists and researchers in accelerating innovation through discovery, design, and delivery of new ideas and concepts according to the precepts of IMES’s charter and vision statement.