The planning and design goals for UNC Murray Hall's Applied Physical Sciences (APS) labs and support spaces were to provide a unique environment in which to integrate a wide variety of programmatic elements under the over-arching umbrella of educational innovation.

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From inception, this was to be a space that not only allows for but actively encourages research, invention, collaboration and entrepreneurship. The “big idea” design guideline for Murray Hall was simple: “the whole floor is a lab.” Rather than enclose the labs and associated makerspace in distinct, separated parts of the floor divided by a corridor, they would be connected: allowing visibility among all spaces while maintaining their specific programmatic and technical needs. Makers and researchers can see each other while in their labs, and come together in the lounge located between the labs.

Flexibility, inclusive programming, transparency, and a true interdisciplinary approach were key factors for success of the project.