Chris Cowansage, RA, LEED AP, is a laboratory planner and designer who successfully started and ran an award-winning firm for two decades. Chris joins Page as a principal after a merger with his Northern Virginia-based firm Strategic Science & Technology Planners (SST Planners), which specialized exclusively in technically complex projects. The focus of his three-plus decade career has been on all types of research and instructional facilities. Now, Chris has been tasked with expanding Page’s laboratory planning and consulting services.
Chris and his firm typically served as consultants to architecture firms on projects that are lab intensive, and he will continue to do so at Page. On these types of projects, he leads the development of the program by conducting interactive workshops that engage the stakeholders in dialog about their requirements to build consensus.
This critical aspect of the facility design process identifies relevant issues quickly and results in thorough documentation early in the process. Challenges are identified in an inclusive and open process designed to reconcile diverse interests. Chris has successfully used this approach in planning many relevant laboratory projects nationwide and internationally.
Examples of his domestic work include laboratory programming and planning services for a complex of two new research laboratory buildings at the Medical University of South Carolina. The 225,000 sf complex promotes synergy between academia and the private sector in cancer, pharmaceutical and bioengineering research with a shared imaging suite, PET, microscopy, an NMR, a small-business incubator and a pharmacy-teaching lab. There was a consensus among the investigators that a sub-dividable modular lab concept with desks either inside or outside of the lab - depending on safety concerns - would provide the best lab solution for long-term flexibility.
Chris also provided detailed programming and lab fit-up for the 267,000 gsf Exploration Sciences Building at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. He also participated in the programming and planning for the new 75,000 gsf lab building housing the Department of Embryology at the Carnegie Institution of Washington at Johns Hopkins University. His work with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over the last dozen years includes programming and planning for many buildings on their Atlanta campuses as well as for project development studies for IHS (Indian Health Service) and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) nationwide. One example is the small but intensive renovation of the 3,500 sf Arctic Investigations Program (AIP) laboratory building in Alaska.
Overseas, he also has done work for the International Facilities Program of the CDC and the US Department of State. He was fortunate enough to be able to travel under the auspices of PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) with a group of equally motivated colleagues, to countries throughout Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to serve as an instructor of lab planning for biomedical facilities to promote safe and sustainable design.
Prior to founding SST Planners in 1994 with two other principals, Chris worked at other firms that specialized in lab design where he honed his planning and design skills and learned the fundamentals of running a successful business. He received his Masters in Architecture from Princeton University in 1981 and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Architecture from Columbia University in 1978. We are proud to welcome Chris Cowansage to Page.