SEFA Lab of the Year®

The Lab of the Year is a global award recognizing innovation in laboratory design and excellence in execution.  We welcome submissions from architects, owners and builders of all types of laboratories, located anywhere in the world. In addition to current award winners from North America, there have been a number of recent international honorees including facilities located in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

The prior award winning projects and the design teams who succeeded in bringing their client’s vision to reality are the catalyst for this coveted award built on a 56 year foundation now positioned as the “Gold Standard” for lab design.   

Projects are judged on the following criteria –

  • Overall Impression
  • Great Architectural Design
  • Innovative Lab Design
  • Sustainability & Human Health
  • Human Experience
  • Supports Science and Safety
  • Celebrates Science
  • Supports Collaboration
  • Addresses Site/Campus
  • Distinguishing Lab Features
  • Compelling Design Story
  • Other Notable Elements 

For an in-depth narrative of the competition guidelines and rules please refer to the Lab of the Year Rules We have asked two of our Advisory Board Members and former award winners to provide some guidance for first time submitters to the program –

What does it mean to win the SEFA Lab of the Year®?  Submitted by: Victor Cardona, AIA NCARB

SEFA Lab of the Year® – Why is it Valuable to Submit your Project for this Award?  Submitted by: Jay Bargmann FAIA 

SEFA Advisory Board Member Dario Tonelli of LaborPlaner Tonelli A.G., recently organized a Presentation on the SEFA Lab of the Year® Program for the EGNATON Forum.  Mr. Tonelli participated on the Judging panel for our 2020 Program.  Below are links for interviews which were part of his presentation:

2020 SEFA Lab of the Year® 

Stavros Niarchos Foundation - David Rockefeller River Campus at The Rockefeller University

Architect - Jay Bargmann, FAIA, Vice President and Managing Partner Rafael Viñoly Architects 

2021 SEFA Lab of the Year® -- Harvard Science and Engineering Complex -- 

Architect - Matt Noblett, Partner Behnisch Architekten 


Judges Interviews --

Leslie Ashor, SEFA Advisory Board Member -  Science and Technology Leader - HOK


Brian Richard, SEFA Advisory Board Member - EVP Director Science and Technology Projects - Kirksey Architecture


Daniel Wentzlaff, Dipl. Ing. AA Dipl, Architekt BSA SIA SWB - NW Architekten 

SEFA prides itself on assembling a “conflict free” Judging Panel which may include architects; lab planners; contractors; engineers; end users; and representatives from the media.  Any individual that was involved in a project or whose firm submits a project is not eligible to serve on the Panel of Judges.

We encourage you to visit the Timeline and Forms page before beginning the submission process.