Earlier this month, the architectural competition for the unique interdisciplinary prototyping laboratory centre Kaunas University of Technology M-Lab took place. The winning project was developed by the architectural studio of Gražina Janulytė-Bernotienė, the author of another Kaunas landmark building, KTU Santaka Valley.
In today’s ever-changing world, the implementation of innovations into everyday processes has to be smooth and continuous. For the development of innovations and research environments for interdisciplinary research is needed, where the ideas can be realised and tested instantly. Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) M-Lab – interdisciplinary prototyping laboratory centre – will open up the opportunities for interdisciplinary research and shorten the incubation period from the idea to its realisation.
KTU M-Lab will be opened in the heart of KTU Campus, in the place of the currently unused building of student cafeteria “Kolegos”, in front of the Faculty of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.
It is being estimated that the reconstruction of the building covering 2.5 thousand square meters will amount to 3.75 million euros, and the project design will cost more than 145 thousand euros. It is being planned that KTU M-Lab will be opened in spring 2022.
“By implementing this project we are aiming to create a fertile work environment for researchers, which would inspire creativity and knowledge sharing. Moreover, we are planning to make the spaces open for integration between business and science, which would allow innovation development and research and development project implementation. The fields of physical and technological sciences with the highest potential are among our priorities”, says Lolita Jurkšienė, Head of KTU Performance Management Department, the leader of the KTU M-Lab project.
9 interdisciplinary research theme-focused experimental laboratories will be opened at KTU M-Lab: sustainable and smart cities, sustainable and smart environment, industrial design, e-business models, individual nutrition, remote health care management, individual wellbeing and productivity-boosting in a workplace, robotised assistance and non-contact human health monitoring.
According to Jurkšienė, once opened the KTU M-Lab will not only answer the needs of foreign and Lithuanian industries but will also forge strong ties between science and business, which will attract investment.
The architectural concept of the KTU M-Lab building is to integrate the recreational and urbanised zones of the Campus into the common system. The building will open up the passage into the Gričiupis park, situated behind the building. Matt and transparent bioplastic will be used for the finishing of the walls, and the roofs will be planted. The outside terrace will be opened for recreation, discussions or events. All the workshops and laboratories in the building will be transformable – reconstructed according to the needs.
“Our University is a learning organisation, which is constantly growing and looking for new ways of improving our research quality, looking up to the best higher education institutions in the world. The building of M-Lab is in the heart of the KTU Campus. Our idea to transform this building into the interdisciplinary laboratory centre will not only revive the Campus but also open new possibilities for research”, says Evelina Meilienė, KTU Director of Organisational Development.
KTU M-Lab will also house a creative zone for young researchers, simulation laboratory and prototype testing centre.