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Professional Profile: Enrique Ceniceros

Lab Manager speaks to Enrique Ceniceros of Taylor Design

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Enrique Ceniceros, AIA, LEED AP, is Science and Technology Studio Director for Taylor Design, an architectural design, design strategy and interior design firm with five offices in California. Lab Manager recently spoke with Enrique about his career, experience, and personal interests.

Q: How did you get started in your career? Did you major in your field in college, get an internship, switch careers mid-stream, etc.?

A: As most laboratory planners will tell you, most of us never imagined laboratory design was a specialty while we were in architecture school. I started my career following a traditional path working at architecture and planning firms; I quickly gravitated towards education projects that included a strong STEM curriculum. I was always fascinated by the purpose and logic behind this type of project. By creating spaces that would encourage students to experiment and invent, I felt I contributed to the essential need for growth in the science industry. 

I eventually “graduated” to do work at some of the most important research universities and hospitals in California—I found the interaction with researchers to be highly stimulating and gratifying. Looking back, I am proud to have worked with some of the brightest minds in the industry, some of them Nobel Prize recipients. I am always looking forward to the next project, knowing well that it will provide new challenges and opportunities to contribute to the science and fabrication communities.

Q: What is the biggest work-related challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?

A: Learning how to properly work in highly technical renovations in occupied research facilities was the biggest challenge that I faced early in my career. To be successful in this type of project, you must understand that a simple laboratory remodel will impact operations and infrastructure in the entire building. You should be aware of all spaces near the lab, and not just those immediately next to you. Understanding how utility shutdowns and location research and safety equipment will affect existing equipment in other suites is essential. I’ve seen an emergency safety shower installed in the floor immediately above an electron microscope, which resulted in a catastrophe once it was activated. I understood very quickly that doing a thorough survey and fully understanding the building, operations, and infrastructure was the only way to avoid mistakes that could result in delays in construction and damage to existing operations.

Q: What is your favorite building, lab-related or not?

A: The Salk Institute by Louis I. Kahn is my favorite building. It contains most of the things that I feel architecture should provide for a research facility—a great setting in La Jolla, California; large, efficient laboratories; and an environment created by the designer that is stimulating and motivational. It is easy to understand how some of the most important scientific breakthroughs have taken place in this beautiful facility where science is celebrated, and its importance to the community is palpable.

Q: What kinds of hobbies or interests do you have outside of work?

A: I am lucky to live next to Laguna Beach, one of the original artist colonies in Southern California. I firmly believe the creative process has a lot in common with the discovery process in science. I support the local art community and our local college of art and design. Collecting student work has always been a passion of mine. I am also a big advocate of the installation of art in research and biotechnology projects. The right type of art in these facilities will stimulate and foster innovation, this being the biggest goal for any research or manufacturing institution. 

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in this new position?

A: I am very interested in the growth of the research and biotech industries in California. The growth of these industries is not only important to the fields of medicine and engineering, but it also provides great career opportunities for a wide range of members in our community. My goal is to work with developers and institutions in furthering the growth of the already-established life science corridors (hubs) in California and creating new ones. Leading Taylor Design’s Science and Technology Studio will help support this goal. Taylor Design is solely focused on the growth of the healthcare and research communities in California. With offices in all of the major life science corridors in California (San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Sacramento), we are uniquely poised to provide architectural and planning services for all institutions and biotech facilities in these cities.