• anatomy;
  • architecture;
  • laboratory design;
  • education;
  • informatics


General notions of architecture are familiar to anatomists, and they frequently use the word in describing the functional structures of cells, tissues, and whole organisms. Beyond concepts relating to orderly structure, anatomists infrequently encounter the profession of architecture and practicing architects. Significantly, anatomists can work with architects in the design and building of laboratories and classrooms, efforts that can have sustained effects on the practice of anatomy. In this paper, we consider cooperative interactions between anatomists and architects in designing new laboratories that accommodate educational innovations and increasingly valuable dissection resources. We begin by introducing architecture and architects in their roles in design and building. We next consider essential features and technologies for new laboratories that support a combination of classical dissection, prosection, models, and computer-based information. Different working conditions are reviewed for designing renovations of existing facilities, long-term planning for new, same-institution buildings, and extramural planning and construction for new medical schools. Whatever the project, anatomists work with architects in repeated interactive planning meetings that arrive at working laboratory designs by a process similar to successive approximation. In consulting on designs for extramural institutions, anatomists must balance client administration and faculty needs with objective oversight of practice-side design features, constraints, and capacity for innovative uses with new curricula. Architects are the key agents in producing laboratories designed for flexible and innovative anatomical education, although client-favored models for Internet-based technology can limit future use of cadavers in multiyear teaching of medical and health sciences students. Anat Rec (Part B: New Anat) 289B:241–251, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.