I've only played once, so my memory may be fuzzy on this. At the beginning of the game, you start with only one of your labs. The second of each player's labs starts on the main game board until it is purchased and built. It's pretty much just a holding area.
You start with a single lab (with area 3). Visiting the Workshop allows you to build a second lab (with area 4) or to enlarge one of your labs (+2 to its area) or to install a mechanical man into an enlarged lab (can't be moved, but works as two men). Have fun!
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
James is funny... and correct. That space holds the labs. Not all players start with 2 in the basic setup. In the expert setup, you MAY choose to take your second lab, but you do not have to.