Monthly Archives: June 2010

Open Vs. Closed and the Battle of Collaboration

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The prevailing trend is for planners to provide individual personal space that is open making workers more accessible to one another combined with the right proportion of enclosed spaces for heads down work and the opposite condition to control acoustically active group work.

The challenge is how to make the 180 degree change from closed to open, requiring change from one work method to the other, where the group has determined that working together is more effective for the success of the organization.

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Design Expertise

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One could say the design of higher education environments is important, after all, they will be around for 50+ years. We’re currently master-planning the renovations for several academic libraries originally constructed in the 1960’s. Most haven’t been renovated since. New buildings on campuses will, for all intents and purposes, forever transform the experience of those that attend and support the academic institution.   The opportunity is one that should be carefully studied and developed. It is one we take very seriously. 

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Behavioral Sciences

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This paper “Remembering, Repeating, and Working-Through” is noteworthy not only because of its early appearance in the psychological academic literature 96 years ago, but because of the profound insight that it has on our work at BHDP today.  The title directs the reader toward the technique of psycho-analysis, which in 1914, was less than 20 years in the making since Freud popularized his work.  However, for us, the message can be applied today to the nature of adult “change”.  It is as if the author has tapped into a deep intuitive understanding of the very difficult nature of the change process in an adults, healthy or otherwise.

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HVAC Design Trends

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“What’s the latest in the realm of HVAC design in terms of energy-efficient design, popular systems, i.e., chilled beams, and back-up power for these systems?”

Energy usage is a huge issue in the work we are doing now, whether it is required by legislation or just a need to reduce the operating expenses of a facility.  In new construction the isolation of exhaust requirements and heat loads during the programming phase will allow you to get a greater pay back for the utilization of supplemental cooling such as chilled beams and in some special applications chilled floors.

One of the biggest ways to reduce energy is to optimize lab ventilation.  Four trends that we are seeing:

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Translational Research

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Translational Research is grounded in disease based research and is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap initiatives.  The NIH coined this as a new buzzword.  These initiatives were started to address the roadblocks to research and transform the way basic science is conducted by overcoming specific hurdles such as academic cultures that stifle collaboration, regulatory impediments, and a shortage of qualified researchers. Basically break down the silos that exist between the researchers to the clinicians and the public health scientists. These groups have collaborated in the past but now have to adapt to faster more complex science to form a seamless process.

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Who is the Student?

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As we prepare to plan libraries, science buildings and classrooms, the design process has typically been to quickly develop the “program of requirements”  (many times not much more than a list of spaces and sizes) and jump right into design concepts. Designers listen to what the client wants and needs. Many times this comes from the faculty and administration levels, with some or little input from the students. 1-3 years later, when the project is complete, will it meet the needs of the students?

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Capturing Metrics

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Sometimes metrics that matter are best captured on something other than a spreadsheet.

We are thinking about ways that we can make measures for organizational improvement associated with workplace change more effective by making them more visual.  The idea is to help people see their work in order to understand it better and make quicker more tangible changes in their behavior, similar to the way a dancer, a diver, a tennis player or a golfer might use visualization to improve performance. 

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12 Trends of Library Design

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Many academic planners assumed that the coming of the Internet would lead to the decline of the library as we know it. To the contrary, many academic libraries have experienced significantly increased patron use in recent years.

One reason for this phenomenon is that today’s college students have heightened expectations and demands for academic libraries based on new approaches to learning. While the Internet can provide 24/7 access to information, it can also isolate learners. In contrast, the new academic library model provides a forum for students to collaborate, enjoy fellowship, engage in healthy debate, create and challenge ideas, and experience learning and discovery in a multitude of meaningful ways. The following 12 trends define how the library has evolved to maintain its essential position within the academic landscape.

Full Article

Design of Venue

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Prior to the NCAA basketball tournament, I happened to catch the show Sport Science.  They were doing an episode titled “Does where you play effect how you play”  The show explored three factors that could have an impact on the results of a basketball game: sound, sight and space.  It struck me how well this tied to our firms belief in the impact architecture can have on the behaviors of people, just from a basketball perspective.  We generally look at the impact we have on people through the lense of workplace, higher education, science and retail design — why not basketball?  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.