How Apps of the Future Can Alter a Building’s Design

Photo from Artefact Group

Today’s world is more and more driven by data, and facility managers, architects, and interior designers have seen how data from any source can affect the design of a building. Take, for example, a prospective new mobile app called Chronicle. In a recent article published by Fast Company, Chronicle “would be the first app to monitor someone’s health across various chronic diseases, as it compares to others with similar conditions, in real time.”

The article dives deep into a scenario about how Chronicle can help monitor someone who has lung disease. Via Bluetooth, the app can assess her vitals along with her surrounding environment to gauge what physical activity she’s capable of performing.

With such a constant stream of data, could this be something that is then immediately updated to a patient’s primary care physician? Eventually, there could be a point when medical buildings may not need as much space. If basic data measurement tasks are being handled by a patient’s phone app, then vitals could be measured before a visit. Basic questions could be assessed through technology as opposed to person to person. As a result, appointments could be shorter and waiting rooms could be smaller. Followup appointments could instead be handled by analyzing a patient’s information from Chronicle.

The concept of any app like Chronicle could be extended to industries outside of healthcare. Any office or building space used to complete basic data gathering could eventually be replaced by an app.

Workplace Trends of 2015

As we slowly wind down 2014, the lists are starting to accumulate for workplace trend predictions for 2015. Forbes recently came out with their list of predictions. As a Facilities Manager, Architect, or Interior Designer, how do you feel these align with how you see the workplace evolving? Here are a few notables from the list.

1. More workers move away from traditional career paths – Year over year, there are more and more who decide to become freelancers. Companies are also hiring more temp workers and consultants because of the cost benefits.

2. Workers constantly keep a tab on job searching – Companies may anticipate less retention as lately many workers keep a tab on what jobs are out there. It truly no longer is the case that this generation of workers stays with a company for years and, instead, look to hop around to quickly advance.

3. Succession planning is a higher priority – As more and more boomers face retirement, more companies will need to address a succession plan. Within the plan, it’s likely that those boomers will stay on the payroll to help transfer their knowledge to their successors.


Check out the rest of the list here.

How to Design Offices to Improve Health and Wellbeing

In a recent report by World Green Building Council, there was overwhelming evidence provided that shows how just a few small factors can make a large impact on office productivity and wellbeing. Perhaps these are things that you have notice in your office, but have tried to ignore and carry on. Now you have the data to see what really is making a difference. Check out some examples below.

1. Indoor air quality: Better indoor air quality (e.g. low CO2 and pollutants) can lead to productivity improvements of 8-11%.

2. Thermal comfort: The right thermal comfort has a significant impact on workplace satisfaction. Even having your own control on the thermostat can improve productivity.

3. View of nature: Working with a window view, specifically one with any scenes of nature, has shown that it can significantly increase productivity.

4. Exercise: Implementing active design in your building and providing access to health services and amenities like gyms and bicycle storage can help encourage wellbeing.

The Growth of Shared Work Spaces

open closed space management architect design

Recently, there has been a growing trend of shared work spaces. For better or for worse, these open-plan work spaces are here to stay. While traditional cubicle farms closed-plan offices are still prevalent, a new breed of architects and designers are embracing the benefits of creativity, collaboration, and wellness that open-plan work spaces provide.

CNN takes a look at 10 shared work spaces that have been improved by design. From offices to hospitals to playgrounds, check out the revamped designs here.




How DIRTT Is Using Video Game Software to Help Design Hospitals

Back in June 2014, SpaceTrak was at the DIRTT Chicago Showroom as part of NeoCon 14. If there’s one thing, they know how to throw a party. There was an ice cream parlor from Savannah, Georgia with a special DIRTT ice cream flavor. There was a rocking blues band that dished out a few sets. There was Sushi Mike, a sushi chef who single-handedly fed basically every person at that party.

There was also a booth across from us that had a couple of large display monitors and Oculus Rift headsets. Along with everyone else, we were curious. Once some volunteers manned the headsets, though, we figured out what was going on. The monitors displayed 3-D layouts of hospitals you could navigate through, like a video game. If you’re familiar with Oculus Rift, the headsets immersed you into this world. It really felt like you were in a hospital, navigating through its layout.

Oculus Rift Space Management Design Software Oculus Rift 2 Space Design Software

Now The Washington Post has reported that DIRTT actually incorporated open-source software from the wildly successful ’90s video game, Doom. If you’re less familiar with Doom, it’s a first-person shooter in which you fight demons from hell. Now instead of wandering through sinister landscapes, you get to assess the layout and space planning of hospitals. The Washington Post explains as such:

“The software takes traditional blueprints and turns them into a 3-D image, allowing contractors that provide plumbing, wiring and so on to coordinate on virtual walls right from the start of a project. The idea — appealing to anyone who has ever renovated a kitchen — is to eliminate the costs and delays that come when diverse crews run into unexpected problems.”

Hopefully DIRTT won’t toss in any easter eggs with demons hiding behind corners. But as DIRTT hopes, “the same Doom-based system will also help hospitals that want to reconfigure a room’s wall panel quickly for patients with different needs or to accommodate new technology.”

An Old Chicago Packing Plant Succeeds as a New Urban Indoor Farm

Fast Company shared an interesting story on The Plant, an urban indoor farm in Chicago. The farm originated when entrepreneur John Edel took over a vacant factory and converted into a pseudo urban jungle ecosystem. Literally, it’s an ecosystem – a fish farm’s waste fertilizes plants, grow lights give waste heat to the building, and carbon dioxide waste from a brewery helps grow plants.

The intriguing aspect of the indoor urban farm is the possibility of its replication across cities. In an era of pro organic and local, such a concept seems like it can take off in multiple urban areas. With that said, imagine the future opportunities as a facilities manager, an architect, or interior designer. How do these roles change to manage or design a vertical indoor farm? As a facilities manager, you’ll manage not only the space of people and departments, but additionally the space of different farms or gardens. As an architect or interior designer, how will you capture the idea of a sprawling rural farm harnessed within a vertically scaling building?

Given the success story of The Plant, one will definitely have to keep an eye out for similar buildings cropping up in other major cities.

RoomScan: iPhone App that Gives You a Floor Plan in Minutes

This is very nifty. A new iPhone app, RoomScan, can literally get you a floor plan in minutes just by walking around a room and placing the phone against each wall. As previewed below, the app easily takes information from each wall and then draws out a floor plan. This looks to be potentially helpful for those situations where you can’t remember the dimensions of a room, or you just can’t remember where you put that tape measurer.

Room Scan App Software Automates Floor Plan

Image via Architizer.

Join Our Webinar Discussion: Designing Workplace Standards that Make Sense

Streamline your standards program, and watch the impact in all areas of your project/facility. In this webinar, we will make suggestions, and open up a discussion for best practices.

Register now:

Shanghai Company 3-D Prints Village

The potential of 3-D printing is kind of incredible. A Shanghai company constructed a village of humble concrete homes from 3-D printing. It wasn’t completely 3-D printing per se in that there were still some parts that had to be pieced together by manual labor.

Regardless, imagine how facilities could be constructed in the future through 3-D printing. Instead of months upon months of construction, one could potentially just bring 3D-printers on to a site and build. There’d be a reduced cost in time and money spent. More energy and resources can be pulled toward strategies and planning of facilities.

Shanghai 3-D printed village design

Check out the article here