Technology Should Come First
When designing an office or school, or any type of building or structure for that matter, there are many factors that contribute to the final design.
Every building serves a purpose. It houses people and provides them with a space to fulfill some sort of task whether it is to work or live in. Some of these factors that determine the ultimate design of any type of structure include space available to build, zoning and various regulations, expected number of occupants and placement of utilities.
For example, when building a restaurant architects and planners’ first order of business is to designate where the kitchen will be to cook the food for the customers.
When designing a typical industrial space, architects and planners need to assign specific areas for office and warehouse space. Areas for conference rooms and huddle rooms are designated when planning out typical office spaces.
Decisions like these are most often the first step in the building process. However, more often than not, the occupants in these buildings often face major dilemmas when trying to introduce technology into their newly built space.
Technology has become such a critical part of everyday life, it’s unavoidable. When planning out a new building or space, technology should be the first factor to be considered.
In the modern workspace, technology is a must-have and the term “technology” covers so much ground since it has been integrated into almost every aspect of everyday life. Businesses rely on their technology to keep their operations going.
Above all else, every workspace needs internet connection capabilities, a data infrastructure, a security system and telecommunication capabilities. In order for these systems to work sufficiently, the planning for these systems is critical.
Space must be designated early in the building process to accommodate the necessary technology that comes with these systems. If a data infrastructure is needed, ample space is needed to accommodate the servers, routers and switches that will allow the inter-connectivity of the work place.
In addition to this equipment, cabling is also an integral piece of the puzzle. The last thing occupants of a newly built facility want are random wires and cables from their data, security or telecommunication systems running up and down walls or laying on the floor being a visual blemish and/or potential safety hazard.
Some types of structures depend more on technology than others. When talking about arenas, stadiums, lecture halls and theaters as well as houses of worship, the most important component is the sound. Audio is the main attraction to these types of facilities, enhancing the unique atmosphere.
Hearing your favorite band close out a festival, listening to the pastor give a sermon at your local church or hearing the referee announce a crucial penalty call with seconds to go in the fourth quarter, all these examples need to be heard by everyone within the facility.
When designing a space, the type of equipment and the placing of said equipment can make or break the experience. When designing these structures, architects and planners need to keep in mind of how the sound is going to get from a stage, altar or field to the ears of the audience.
In addition to the space and cabling needed for the appropriate equipment, the actual space of these structures must be evaluated based solely on the traveling of the sound.
For example, an indoor stadium’s sound system will differ greatly from that of an outdoor stadium. If not planned accordingly, there might be many distraught faces in the crowd who are unaware of what is going on due to the sound system that was installed into a structure not properly designed for the space or the application.
Speakers and microphones vary in terms of projection and sound and many facilities need equipment that is appropriate for its designated space. Video screens and projectors compliment the audio system in many of these facilities.
The video elements are in many ways just as important as the sound. Depending on your seats for an event, you might actually find yourself watching the video walls or nearby large format displays to catch the action on the field or the performance on the stage.
When planning a facility such as these mentioned, the placement of the equipment such as video screens needs to be able to be seen by everyone watching which could definitely affect building plans if not taken into consideration early on.
One of the most significant issues when introducing new technologies into your space is the integration. All of the systems mentioned above have the ability to be integrated together and the potential of all these technologies can be maximized when integrated together.
Taking technology into account in the planning process will ensure seamless integration of multiple technologies, deliver the technology that today’s users want and need, reduce overall infrastructure costs and substantially reduce unwanted “surprises” in the end.
In today’s world when designing a building or space, the design process needs begin with the technology.