MBH Architects recently completed MBC BioLabs at 930 Brittan, located in San Carlos, California. MBC BioLabs empowers emerging life science companies, who often face prohibitive start-up costs of expensive equipment and infrastructure, by providing fully equipped co-working laboratory space.
In 2017, when MBH Architects began the design process, no one could have predicted just how essential the incubator would become. The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic hit the US while the laboratory was under construction in early 2020. Although Bay Area counties were among the first in the nation to implement a shelter-in-place order, the 930 Brittan project was deemed essential because of the valuable COVID-19 research conducted at the facility With the ability to continue construction.
MBH Architects-alongside the general contractor, OPI Commercial Builders, and developer, Dewey Land Company-swiftly implemented new workflows, remote communication practices, and on-site safety precautions to maintain the team's timeline and safety. In August 2020, the laboratory opened to several companies devoted to developing accurate, budget-friendly COVID-19 tests and other healthcare-related research.
MBC BioLabs wanted to challenge the traditional sterile aesthetic of the windowless, all-white research lab. The redevelopment consists of three warehouses combined into a single facility with a ground-up three-story addition. For the interiors, the design team was inspired by MBC's vibrant brand identity. The firm utilized its bright colors in the materials, fixtures, and environmental graphics to invigorate the space and connect the laboratories, common areas, and workspaces. Large windows to the outside and interior glazing illuminate the ground-floor laboratories and give scientists long site lines while inviting intrigue from passersby. Fresh air fills the facility's central kitchen gathering area and event space, where a roll-up door connects to an outdoor patio. Occupants utilize the indoor/outdoor event space for wellness activities, investor networking events, and social gatherings - a much-welcomed reprieve enjoyed regularly.
Photography: Tyler Chartier