Fast + Epp Unveils Concept Lab

Stephanie Hun

Fast+Epp is an internationally recognized structural engineering firm with offices in Vancouver, Seattle, New York, Calgary, Edmonton, and Darmstadt. The company is recognized for challenging conventions and exploring new ideas and design approaches for all building types and materials, including timber, precast concrete, cast-in-place concrete, and steel. Having completed over 10 million square feet of hybrid and mass timber buildings worldwide over three decades, Fast + Epp has earned a reputation as a global leader in hybrid and timber design.

The company has recently launched Concept Lab, a 5,500 sq. ft. collaborative research and workshop space in the company’s Vancouver home office.

The structural engineering firm’s hybrid mass timber office is already a living laboratory of novel structural solutions. Concept Lab, which occupies the entire ground floor and half of the second floor, is an extension of this ongoing commitment to ingenuity and propelling architectural imagination. Now, members of the industry will be able to develop and fabricate new prototypes in-house, demonstrate the feasibility of these creations, and use them as invaluable visualization and communication tools.

Creativity, broad thinking, and new technologies are fundamental to Concept Lab. It will serve as a springboard to cutting-edge design ideas for AEC firms, academia, and innovators alike, allowing for knowledge sharing and the building of meaningful partnerships.

“We are thrilled to launch Concept Lab, a physical space that will push the boundaries of research and development and inspire fresh thinking,” said Paul Fast, Founder and Partner at Fast + Epp. “Concept Lab will help turn our collective insights into effective real-world results. We hope to develop new technologies, practices, and procedures that will enable industry-wide innovation and positively impact the spaces where we live, work, and play.”

The space provides design professionals, academia, industry associations, and innovators alike the ability to enliven their design ideas. Concept Lab provides Fast + Epp staff access to brainstorm and develop concepts, a full shop to fabricate models, prototypes, mock-ups, a 100,000lb loading frame for structural testing, and digital suites to develop design visualizations software and design tools.

This living laboratory includes four distinct hubs in an open concept studio. A Development area consists of a material sample library and networking and hosting space for product launches and educational seminars for 150 guests. The Fabrication area features 3D printers, robotic fabrication machines, woodworking, and metalworking tools. A 100,000 lb self-reacting structural loading frame and precise vibration instrumentation make up the Testing area. In contrast, the Digital area on the second floor is dedicated to software development, material optimization strategies, parametric design techniques, and machine learning. Concept Lab has all the resources needed to bring concepts to reality. 

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