PLP Architecture

PLP Architecture

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The World’s First Purpose-Built AI Research Laboratory Opens in China

By PLP Architecture
Jul 3, '24 1:22 PM EST
Credit: LinSong
Credit: LinSong

In a world-first for the real estate sector, a laboratory designed specifically for businesses undertaking AI R&D has opened in Shanghai, China.

A new real estate asset: As the use of AI within business, science and technology grows, demand for R&D is expected to accelerate, and the AI Lab represents a potential new real estate asset class to satisfy this demand. 

The World Laureates Association (WLA) Artificial Intelligence Building (“AI Lab”) was commissioned by Parkland Group and designed by global studio PLP Architecture with Arup and AISA (Arcplus Institute of Shanghai Architectural Design & Research), alongside a wider team of consultants.

Designed for collaboration and innovation: Sitting within the Lingang New Area global R&D district in Shanghai, the 47,400m2 AI Lab is designed to meet the unique needs of machine and deep learning development.

Extensive research conducted by the design team revealed that most AI companies currently operate from generic and fragmented spaces, hindering collaboration and innovation. The AI Lab addresses this challenge by offering a comprehensive ecosystem under one roof. It features a Super Lab for physical simulations, Specialist Labs for diverse technological experiments, secure Data Centres, and General Labs with a focus on human well-being.

Putting AI on display: In a break from the norm, the AI Lab champions openness and transparency. Key R&D spaces are located at street level with glass walls, allowing activity to be viewed by building users and the public alike, when appropriate.

A world-class workspace: Beyond functionality, the AI Lab prioritises the researchers’ comfort and social interaction. A large central atrium provides five distinct collaboration spaces to encourage cross-disciplinary interaction and break down research silos. Interior lighting is specifically designed to boost creativity and productivity. Landscaped roof terraces and gardens promote relaxation and recharge for scientists.

Sustainability and aesthetics align: The AI Lab integrates strategies for energy production and reduced consumption through its facades. The distinctive grid form, with large glass units and metallic panels, creates solar shading whilst bringing in natural light into the spaces that need it. On the roof, a mixture of translucent and opaque photovoltaic glass panels balance aesthetic, energy production and shading needs.

Innovation through collaboration: The design team for the WLA AI Lab includes PLP Architecture, Arup, Arcplus Institute of Shanghai Architecture Architectural Design & Research, Hassell, ECADI, HDA and BAM.

Andrei Martin, Partner at PLP Architecture said: “The AI Lab is where human ingenuity meets the boundless potential of AI. With this first-of-its-kind building, we have designed a space to empower scientists to tackle groundbreaking research through adaptive environments, cutting-edge infrastructure, and seamless data flow. The result is a laboratory of possibilities, redefining our relationship with technology and blurring the line between human and machine. The AI Lab is an open invitation to the world's best minds to co-create a better future together”.