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Innovation is born from the desire to learn, collaboration with a diverse team, the drive to improve upon current practices, and the tools to turn ideas into reality. The design of a space, from the aesthetic feel to the ease of access to technology, strongly influences the speed to innovation. BAM has successfully completed highly technical facilities for our client, leading to research and products that change the landscape of findings in science.
With our capacity for efficient communication, understanding client needs, and smooth project delivery, our team was recently awarded multiple opportunities for a confidential aerospace client. In line with these new opportunities, BAM has designed cutting-edge environments for science, innovation, and learning by incorporating a few key elements into each design:
Equipment for technological breakthroughs
Technology, from computers to laboratories to aeronautics, enables our client to research and develop a variety of groundbreaking solutions to problems that exist today. BAM has worked closely with the client to determine the exact equipment to suit their needs, and ensured they had the necessary power to keep the equipment running at the highest efficiency. Our team tracked the actions of the scientists throughout the development process and designed an equipment layout to follow these steps, resulting in ease to track results and improve methods. Efficiency in the development process results in products getting to market faster.
In support of physical science research, BAM is designing technically demanding manufacturing spaces and integrated laboratories to create, study and test products and systems in extremely realistic simulations. From client meetings, our team understands that exact temperatures are vital to the manufacturing process, and we are mindful of these details in design. The unique manufacturing oven features liquid nitrogen and nitrogen gases to maintain the correct level of cooling with the heat exhaust and off-gasses safely vented during the manufacturing process. Clients utilize integrated laboratories to capture information of how a product will withstand varied situations, and this enables researchers to improve products through concrete data. A key benefit is the ability to draw investors to the product, as potential customers have the opportunity to see the new product in action.
Collaboration breeds creativity
How do innovative ideas come to be? There are many factors, but an element that stands out is the fresh approach that comes from sharing your thoughts with others. The opportunity to brainstorm problems and discuss ideas away from desks and outside the laboratory in more informal settings puts creators and inventors in different mindsets. BAM has designed pantries that expand beyond the traditional role of a small place to store food and prepare meals. Modern salons that encourage exchange of ideas, our pantries feature long, shared counters, small and medium tables with comfortable seats, and room in the kitchen for chances to chat by the water cooler or coffee machine made frictionless with technology on demand.
Similar to the pantry, for spaces that have often served one primary function, our designers have created a multi-use space by incorporating the idea of teamwork into the layout. Interior pedestrian bridges transform into ideal areas to relax and discuss ideas openly with beautiful landscape views and colorful, cozy sofas that wind into interesting shapes. Huddle areas are an easy addition into any office, from small spaces to open areas. Created specifically with collaboration in mind, huddle areas may feature tall tables or a few close seats throughout an office for impromptu meetings and discussions.
At BAM, remaining attentive to technological needs and designing spaces that support collaboration led to repeat project engagements. This continued partnership speaks to BAM’s larger goal – designing for the success of our client.
Connections: BridgeSynapses is a conference hosted by the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA). Held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the conference invites renowned speakers to share their research on the human physiological response to the built environment.
Does your space promote the behaviors you want to see? If yes, understand and preserve it. If not, understand and change it. But how? Changing peripheral influences may elicit the desired behavior.
Did you know the peripheral aspects of space are shown to have more influence on outcomes than the focal point? For years, we’ve been taught to put our energies into the spotlight – that key thing that is the focus of our eyes. Studies by several presenters demonstrated that the peripheral aspects, including the actions going on visually at the perimeter, acoustics, and materials heavily influence our perception of space. This phenomenon is not just limited to rooms. Facial recognition is another area where periphery is a major component of understanding. Eric Kandel, the 2000 Nobel Prize winner, demonstrated this at the conference. Without creating a spoiler alert, contact Ross Cole and he’ll show you what he demonstrated. It’s pretty fascinating.
2. Stress + Resilience = Enriched Outcome
Fact: Americans spend 87% of their time indoors.
Proven: The built environment can either accelerate or inhibit resiliency. 3
Several presenters were investigating stress, outlined as a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes tension and may contribute to illness. What can environments do to reduce stress, and how do they increase stress? Isovist Theory4 is an observation that bigger, more open spaces actually contribute to increased stress levels, such as New York’s Times Square, Washington DC’s Western Plaza, or LA’s Pershing Square. Conversely, smaller, more crisply defined spaces (New York’s Paley Park, Washington DC’s Eastern Market or LA’s Grand Central Market) reduce stress and increase resilience, or the ability to recover from illness, depression or adversity. The same is found in interior spaces, particularly the ability to have a clear visual understanding of a space. Research points to the user’s ability to have some control to influence their environment as a key factor for well-being.
For BAM, we’ve seen clear benefits first hand. For example, we designed one of the first Hybrid Operating Rooms (HOR) in the US specifically designed with user controls. The patient controls environmental factors in the room such as lighting color. Asserting control of their room produced calmer, less anxious patients for which medical staff reported lower use of anesthesia. Business wise, this has a direct bottom line impact. Lower anesthesia usage reduces risks and shortens patient recovery time.
3. “Creativity” is a word for amateurs. We are”Experimentalist”.5
— Spoken by Eric Kandel. Attributed to Jeff Koons.
We solve problems. Architects build bridges across the chasm between the subconscious brain and reality. Creative people have greater capacity to control the natural aggression of the subconscious toward a critical analysis of beauty. Known as Neuroaesthetics, this skill can be developed to better connect creativity to practical applications and experimentation.
The concept of being “experimentalist” may be more easily understood as working versus playing. Looking at some of the most successful people in the world of art, science and business, there is one thing that stands out: When people are really inspired by what they are doing, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between when they are working or playing. This was the case between the architect Louis Kahn and the scientist Jonas Salk. While they spoke different professional languages, the one word observed they had in common was play. May you be one of those people where the world can’t tell if you are at work or at play.
Eager to see conference videos and learn more about the speakers? Visit the ANFA site here!
1. Cattaneo et.al. 2014
2.Bermudez, J PhD, Chatterjee, A. PhD, Magsamen, S. Connor, E PhD. NeuroAesthetics Initiative at Johns Hopkins Brian Science Institute.
3. Fich, LB PhD, 2016. Can the design of space alter stress responses?
4. Knoll, M. PhD, 2016. Environmental factors related to perceived stress in open public spaces.
5. Attributed to Jeff Koons by Eric Kandel. Jeff Koons, Artist-In-Residence, Columbia University, Department of Neurology.
In our own small way, we strive to make the world a better place through design. Whether we are creating a tranquil space for a newborn baby or supporting a scientist’s research to cure an illness, our core values speak to improving the world.
Each year, we make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as part of our commitment to positive change. We are glad to support Make-A-Wish in its mission of granting “the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.”
This year, Peter was one of many kids whose wish was granted. Never having been in an airplane, Peter’s wish was to fly. Learning of Peter’s passion for the US Navy and his desire to be a pilot, Make-A-Wish took Peter’s dream one step further.
See what change looks like. In the video below, watch Peter’s excitement as he flies alongside naval aviators, boards a Naval Aircraft Carrier, sits in the Admiral’s chair, and pilots the helm of the ship.
Over the past sixteen years, we at BAM are thankful for the creative collaborations with our clients, consultants and each other.
To commemorate our sixteenth birthday, a variety of vibrant images were designed to acknowledge this milestone. Each of our clients and consultants received a different image in our anniversary email. You may recognize one of the images among those featured in our exciting, color-rotating 16 above! Which one did you receive?
On October 6th, Reorg Research held a soiree to celebrate the opening of its new workplace designed by the BAM team. The sleek open-office reflects the client brand by incorporating blue throughout the space. Diverse light fixtures and scarlet seating in collaborative areas serve as striking design accents. A notable element is the entry wall featuring the Reorg Research name and local time for New York, London, and Los Angeles. Reorg Research commented that employee morale has skyrocketed in the new office, and the client team expressed their excitement over BAM’s specific design details throughout the evening.
Caring House in Durham, NC is a 12,900 square foot building associated with Duke Cancer Center that provides affordable housing for patients and their caregivers. The environment is built for comfort – a screened in porch, water garden with koi pond and a library all work toward re-creating a feeling of home. BAM upheld this aesthetic with a friendly color palette and open plan in the kitchen. Designed as a communal area, it allows for versatility between larger and smaller groups with multiple appliances, ample storage, and plentiful counter space.