SmartLabs San Francisco

SmartLabs at 2 Tower Place
South San Francisco, CA

Overlooking the life science cluster of Oyster Point and San Francisco Bay stands 2 Tower Place. Originally an office building, the tower’s 14th to 17th floors have been redesigned as labs to serve as the first west coast location of SmartLabs, a lab space provider and operator. 

The new space is tailored to SmartLabs’ business model: Providing flexible, reconfigurable lab spaces that meet the specific research needs of multiple tenants of varying sizes and disciplines. With its state-of-the-art labs, community spaces, and commanding views of the Bay, SmartLabs San Francisco offers an inspiring setting for the Bay Area’s most promising life science start-ups to accelerate their growth.

The design features SmartLabs’ trademark “kit-of-parts”, originally developed by SMMA for the company’s New England locations. The kit-of-parts allows SmartLabs to offer a versatile mix of move-in-ready labs on shorter leases, allowing entrepreneurs and scientists to focus on scientific discovery from the first day. Tenants at SmartLabs San Francisco can occupy a single bench or a lab designed for 100 researchers.

3D model of lab space at SmartLabs San Francisco

The office tower’s curved floorplan posed a challenge to SMMA’s designers. By creating several 3D digital models, the team found ways to align the modular layout of SmartLabs’ lab spaces with the building’s unusual dimensions. These models gave SmartLabs a more precise visual understanding of their new space. They included multiple options for labs and intricate spaces such as tissue culture rooms, glass wash spaces, and an autoclave. 

Conference and training room at SmartLabs San Francisco in California
Labs on 14th floor of building in South San Francisco

Another hurdle was the building’s low floor-to-ceiling heights and compressed plenum spaces. This was overcome by carefully designed MEP systems. SMMA’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing teams worked in tandem to weave a complex network of cable trays, process pipes, and supply and exhaust ducts through the awkwardly tight spaces (see below). They were supported by clash detection tools provided by SMMA’s design technologists. The resulting design meets the intense energy demands of the building’s new lab program within the constraints of an office core and shell.

Transitioning from the Boston market to becoming a national player in lab spaces called for SmartLabs to evolve its interior design offering. SmartLabs San Francisco builds on the familiar brand standards of previous locations while introducing an updated palate to common areas such as lounges, reception areas, and support spaces.