September 2017 saw the launch of BCU’s new Birmingham Conservatoire, a state-of-the-art project that was several years in the making and took two years to construct. The world-class Conservatoire, which was granted a Royal status just two weeks after it opened, cost £57 million and features five public performance spaces, including the 500-seat concert hall, 150-seat recital hall, and a 100-seat organ studio. The building also boasts the UK’s first permanent conservatoire-based jazz space, which seats 80, and a flexible and versatile black-box studio called The Lab where students can experiment and innovate.
Earlier this year, James McHale of (the brilliant) Smart building research company Memoori wrote a LinkedIn post entitled ‘The Need for Real Human Experiences in our Smart Cities and Buildings’. It really struck a chord with us, as it raises some interesting points about whether the technological advancements that are often at the core of Smart technology are actually of benefit to the individuals using the spaces.
The use of buildings, especially commercial premises, has changed. Until relatively recently, if you were offered employment with a company, the chances are that you would have been expected to report to your company’s premises when you were working.
In a world of increasingly collaborative working and knowledge sharing, that is no longer the case. In fact, commercial buildings are rapidly changing from places we go because we work for someone, to tools we use to get our work done.
Business leaders must begin to appreciate the relationship between the spaces in which their people work and the key business challenges they are trying to address:
We currently construct buildings with a product mentality, handed over by a developer or construction company to an owner-occupier or management company with little thought as to the efficiency of its long term operation and maintenance. This model de-incentivises developers to build Smart buildings because the rationale behind Smart is that significant gains and savings can be made via the performance of the building over time. Developers have long since left the scene before those benefits are fully realised.
Building User Experience (or UX for short) describes how people interact with buildings and the technology contained within them as tools that help them live, learn and work. This system driven (as opposed to silo or unit driven) approach brings some very unique challenges due to the number of service disciplines involved, but the potential rewards for all can be massive and highly sustainable, let’s explain…