It's a pivotal time for space plans in private sector, academic, and government work environments. Novel work models, unprecedented cost and performance pressures, and a fresh appetite for reimagining mission/space alignment have all been born from the last two years of work upheaval. Now is the time for ambitious space use initiatives and workplace transformations that will position organizations to lead in the next 5- to 10-years and beyond.
Occupancy restrictions are being lifted across the country, and companies and institutions are anxious to get back to business. But it’s clear that for many, the workplace will never look the same. After a year-and-a-half of maintaining only a virtual presence in the office, classroom, and to some extent even the lab, employees want to retain some of the autonomy and flexibility they discovered while working remotely. And employers, who have learned that much of the corporate and academic mission can be fulfilled from anywhere without sacrificing productivity, want to make better use of their space. One likely scenario going forward is a hybrid workplace—a combination of remote and in-person activity. In a recent Tradeline survey of 155 individuals at 115 organizations nationwide, 76 percent of the respondents named hybrid workplaces as their top space planning and management priority.
Kathleen W. Rollins Hall at Rollins College in Orlando, Fla., embodies the social/entrepreneurial mission of the college and exemplifies the meaning of an applied liberal arts education. Opened in January 2020, the 29,225-sf facility collocates 10 programs that immerse students in global learning opportunities and partnerships, both on and off campus.
A public hospital in the Midwest was in the process of designing a new 12-story high-acuity ICU tower when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. They witnessed their colleagues in hospitals across the country struggling to accommodate the surge of patients who needed isolation units in facilities that were not designed for them, forcing them to shutter the revenue-generating general medicine practice in the rest of the hospital. So the Midwest hospital pivoted. They reassessed design options for the top two floors to serve as dedicated isolation/surge floors, when needed, without disrupting the operations in the rest of the building.
The needs and architectural considerations for a veterinary diagnostic laboratory (VDL) have evolved toward a greater focus on the value of human-centered design. At its core, the VDL’s purpose to provide diagnostic testing for infectious animal diseases remains the same: Biosafety and biosecurity are a top priority, while designs have evolved to meet today’s demands and anticipated future technological advancements. However, the visionary and technological advancements of recent decades have also resulted in an increased focus on designing with efficiency and quality of workplace in mind.
The most-read Tradeline articles in 2020 reflect how the industry has responded to the COVID-19 crisis with flexibility and adaptability. From virtual site visits and virus-mitigating HVAC solutions to forward-looking models for office work, research programs, and higher education, readers learned about the innovative solutions that peer organizations have adopted to weather the storm and position themselves to thrive in the recovery.
Alexandria Real Estate Equities Achieves World's First WELL Health-Safety Rating for Laboratory Space
Alexandria Real Estate Equities has attained the world's first WELL Health-Safety Rating for laboratory space at Alexandria LaunchLabs in New York City.
Employees are driving the design of their workspaces like never before—demanding more collaborative environments, flexible spaces, and personalized technology. As a result, the focus of workplace design and operations, and overall facilities management, is evolving “from the responsibility of managing the building to the opportunity to enable the people within that building,” says Melissa Marsh, AIA, founder and executive director of PLASTARC. Marsh points to the rise of coworking as the disruptive innovation that sparked this shift, and the purposeful use of technology as the force that will sustain it.
As the landscape for academic institutions grows more competitive, determining how human factors impact the design of STEM facilities is becoming a significant consideration when it comes to attracting students and research faculty. As a result, team members at Francis Cauffman Architects are developing a set of metrics to identify and assess the value of design features that influence occupant experience in academic STEM spaces with the goal of creating an index that can be used to inform future renovation and new construction projects. Human factor points are allocated to spaces and design features that have a demonstrated positive impact on student enrollment, result in high levels of user satisfaction, and accommodate the teaching and research goals of the facility. In a post-COVID world, this additional evaluation tool may be more important than ever.
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) launched the latest version of the WELL Building Standard in September of 2020.