Designing CERN’s LHCb control room fit for experimental physics

A major multinational research facility focused on particle physics, CCD had been commissioned in 2003 to design the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) main control room. In 2013, we were approached by CERN to design the LCHb control room – specific to one of the experiments.

Client: CERN
Location: Geneva

CERN control room

The Large Hadron Collider is a very unique facility and highly specialised – it’s the home of experimental particle physics!

Understanding the user

Involving the LCHb team in our discovery research was crucial, and our research team worked to understand the operational requirements, the way teams worked, and the equipment used which was all highly specialised. Understanding the nature of their work was a challenge in itself – they are particle physicists working at the advanced edge of their discipline.

Technical Requirements

Due to the nature of such complicated work, we conducted structured meetings with IT experts to understand the technical requirements our design needed to allow for.

From the meetings with the operators issues such as team working and the diverse types of operating conditions were examined in relation to control room design. A predominant consideration was the way teams could communicate with one another. An extra consideration of the physical space was making sure services remained accessible.

High performing layouts that work

The discussions allowed CCD to develop room layouts, and using co-creation and feasibility techniques and plot-board tests we identified layouts that would support the team and their tasks.

What resulted was a space and design that successfully supported a very unique working environment.

The new LHCb control room during the first 10 minutes of Stable Beams in 2016 © 2016-2018 CERN

© 2016-2018 CERN

© 2016-2018 CERN