Space Use

Academic Workplace Evolution: How Universities Are Rethinking Spaces for Faculty and Staff

Workplace Innovation is Not a “Space Problem”

Published 5-15-2019

Colleges and universities are rethinking their workplaces to align their space with how people work today and to use space to achieve their strategic goals. Beyond macro forces reshaping higher education in terms of access, accountability, and financial stability, there is a confluence of financial, environmental, technological, and cultural factors prompting this change, including increasing numbers of administrative staff and a growing disengagement among faculty and staff. But the most common mistake that institutions make when trying to change their workplace is assuming that they are trying to solve a space problem. Even if the impetus for a project is a space problem—you’re out of space and have no place to put the new faculty or staff member you just hired!—you won’t solve it by thinking about it that way. It’s more complex and nuanced than that. What you need first is a workplace strategy, a coherent statement that describes how your space will be used to help you achieve your larger strategic goals.

Using Data-Driven Design to Produce Research-Supported, Customized Client Solutions

Data Collection, Research, Analysis, and Simulation Facilitate Informed Decision-Making

Published 5-8-2019

Clients look to architects to help them make decisions regarding the built environment that can greatly impact the future of their institutions and their employees. Doing that successfully depends on the quality of information used to make those critical decisions. Collecting comprehensive data from multiple sources, substantiating it with research, and analyzing it with proprietary software developed by HDR enables the firm to provide clients with the kinds of customized information necessary to make sound decisions and help predict building performance.

Reviving Legacy Buildings for 21st Century Science

Proper Swing Space, Project Phasing, and Solid Communication Are Crucial

Published 4-17-2019

Miami University and The Pennsylvania State University have transformed outdated buildings into modern STEM teaching and research centers while maintaining some of each building’s historic aspects. The projects aim to replace siloed labs, dark corridors, and dated HVAC systems with collaborative research facilities and up-to-date mechanicals, recapturing wasted space to provide areas where students can gather. Swing space for affected occupants was crucial—Miami University’s Pearson Hall remained partially occupied during construction, while Penn State’s Steidle Building was vacated—as was clear and frequent communication with faculty and other building users. Both projects required fairly complex phasing.

Designing the Veterinary School of the Future

Texas A&M Builds in Flexibility and Prepares Faculty for Change

Published 3-13-2019

When Texas A&M created a new set of buildings for its veterinary school, it sought to provide spaces that would work for current methods of teaching sciences, but also flexibility to accommodate future change. Change, as we all know, can be difficult, so the process included not just demountable walls and flexible furnishings, but also a focus on change management among the faculty.

Combining Research, Medicine, and Athletics to Create New Translational Models

Hybrid Facilities are Integrating Athletics with Healthcare, Teaching, and Research

Published 3-6-2019

An emerging new model for hybrid translational healthcare facilities combines scientific research with university and professional athletic programs to increase community engagement and student wellbeing. From integrating sports training facilities with medical clinics and applied research, to incorporating fitness gyms, running tracks, and rock-climbing walls into student lounges and public spaces, the combination of athletics and recreation with other programs offers an innovative vision for academic facility design.

UW Tacoma Renovation Creates Multi-Disciplinary Campus Magnet

Mixed-Use Urban Solutions Center Combines Academics with Welcoming Spaces for Commuter Students

Published 2-27-2019

When the small, commuter-focused University of Washington campus in downtown Tacoma decided to renovate the old Tacoma Paper and Stationery building, the idea wasn’t just to create a biomedical research lab, or an electrical engineering facility, or an urban studies center, or a community meeting place, or maker space. The goal was to accomplish all of those things in one facility, and to serve as a home away from home for students, faculty, and the greater Tacoma community, in spaces that were welcoming, informal, and multi-functional. Some of the biomed labs and classrooms have glass walls; many rooms have movable furniture and adaptable designs; and shared spaces allow individuals or groups to just pop in without reserving them in advance.

Space and Design Innovation in MRI Housing

Stony Brook Medicine Uses Pre-Fab Containers and Wasted Space to House High-Power MRIs

Published 2-20-2019

In December 2016, Stony Brook Medical launched a plan to build housing for a pair of high-power MRIs, an older model 9.4-Tesla and a newer 7-Tesla. The original plan was to build a brick-and-mortar facility into their existing vivarium, but that was deemed too expensive, forcing them to consider other options. Glen Itzkowitz, dean of facilities and operations, and his team decided to pursue an option that had never been considered at Stony Brook—using pre-fabricated containers to house the MRIs, which they could just barely squeeze into a loading dock underneath a high-traffic footpath, space that was largely being wasted.

The Seven Steps of Innovation—and the Space Types that Facilitate the Process

Providing an Array of Settings to Match Individual Behaviors Is Key

Published 2-13-2019

Innovation has become the lifeblood of corporate and institutional longevity. Whether a disruptive breakthrough or a line extension, more often than not it is the result of an idea that follows an obscure networked path before evolving into a viable new product or business model. Facilities have a huge impact on the pace and outcome of the innovation process. A variety of spaces, each tailored to foster a specific type of activity, is essential to the innovative workplace. “At the end of the day, innovation is all about providing the right spaces to enable people to use their creative brains in the best manner to come up with new ideas,” says John Campbell, president and lead workplace strategist at the architecture firm FCA. “The design must address the human behaviors that drive the process.”

A Community College’s Lessons on Launching a Space Planning Organization

Success Requires People Who Embrace Organization’s Vision, Transparent Decision-Making, and High-Quality Space Utilization Data

Published 2-6-2019

When Johnson County Community College asked them in 2015 to establish a space planning program, Janelle Vogler and Robyn Albano wondered where to start. Now they advise the college’s top decision-makers to optimize building utilization on campus. In launching a space planning organization from scratch, they point to several lessons they learned along the way: It’s vital to assign a point person to lead the effort; you need a team whose members commit to the institution’s interests above any one department; a successful organization will establish transparent processes for requests and decisions; and don’t be afraid to start data collection with a simple spreadsheet.

Managing Transformational Campus Renovation

Seven Steps to Workplace Innovation

Published 1-23-2019

University of Michigan transformed Weiser Hall—a 1960s brick tower with floor after floor of double-loaded, concrete block corridors—into a dynamic and flexible “center of centers” that brings together international and interdisciplinary institutes and centers so they can share space, services, and ideas. The provost’s charge was to renovate the building to create the “academic workplace of the future.” With the help of brightspot strategy and Diamond Schmitt architects, the team accomplished that mission with a seven-step formula that yielded impressive results, including an average overall productivity savings of 4.26 hours per person per week, the equivalent of every unit being able to grow its staff by 10 percent at no cost.