Existing Building Optimization
Most existing buildings are underperforming assets because of previous design shortcomings or missed opportunities to generate increased value. Architectural design as a consulting service offers property owners an opportunity to evaluate the components of their properties that building occupants find confusing or uncomfortable. Our research has uncovered that occupants generally aren’t sophisticated enough to vocalize their discontent. Instead, they act on their spatial impressions by foregoing actions that would otherwise benefit the property. The scale of our investigation can range from an underperforming tenant space to a struggling urban block.
• Why do some potential tenants not sign leases?
• Why is there one area of a property that seems dead?
• Why do people have trouble navigating a project?
Design Phase Consulting
Our Spatial Consulting offers project owners and developers an independent professional perspective on the configurational elements of a project under design. Similar to how a structural engineer may provide creative feedback to architects about best practices and cost implications, a Spatial Consultant will provide feedback on the design elements of a project that building occupants may eventually find confusing or uncomfortable. Though most Architects routinely think about the occupant experience, they do not always consider the cognitive associations that future occupants may have with the finished product, or consider in detail the various scenarios in which a building’s user will make decisions. Spatial Consulting can be incorporated into the design process as a part of the team or as a third-party peer review.
Spatial Consulting Components
The tools we use to analyze buildings for missed opportunities, and to prepare options for improvements, include: scenario analysis, space syntax, and surveys/interviews. Below are the three typical components of a building’s design which are affected by the occupant perspective.
Most buildings are not designed with occupant orientation as a primary origination for design layouts. Subsequently, many properties are underperforming due to occupant disorientation or because some areas are not appropriately visible. One of our analytical strengths is to consider the configurational aspects of how an occupant would navigate a property to achieve their goals. We believe it is an occupant’s right to be able to navigate a building free of anxiety, and we know that building owners can benefit from clear circulation strategies.
Similarly, there are configurational aspects of how spatial geometries encourage or limit occupant behaviors. Almost every type of program – office, retail, hospitality, institutions – would benefit from a careful analysis of how a building communicates activity to its users. The shapes of spaces have considerable effect on occupant actions, as well as the multitude of aesthetic factors such as color and texture. In conjunction with a robust programming analysis, we can uncover strategies to make a property more productive or to appropriately reflect a client’s desired culture.
There is strong evidence that human behavior is linked with health and well-being, which can adversely affect occupant productivity and, therefore, property value. Though it can often be expensive, the strategic incorporation of daylight, views, circadian lighting, and fresh air, can greatly increase the comfort of occupants. Sustainability upgrades in energy, mechanical, and lighting systems can simultaneously benefit both property owners and occupant morale.