Typically, immediate thoughts on mixed-use interiors’ developments go to “residential plus retail,” such as in live-work-play environments. However there are many degrees of separation among business environments that should be distinguished (especially if adapting previous residential spaces for modern industrial areas). Alternative mixed-use interiors can include:
- Offices with gyms and cafes
- Restaurants with retail stores
- Hotels with office spaces
- Offices or other buildings with roof adaptations and networking spaces
- And many other combinations – whatever you can visualize!
Challenges with mixed-use interiors include making sure requirements are met for the industrial and specific needs of the company tenants on the business side(s) of the mixed-use building. In fact these can create many more challenges when retrofitting existing building interiors than building new ones. These include increased needs such as:
- Telecommunications setups
- Power consumption/electrical services
- Lighting levels
- Industry-specific code requirements or increases
- Water service and pipes
- Industry- or equipment-specific ceiling height requirements
- Increased ventilation, ductwork and other HVAC needs
- Any light manufacturing needs for the tenant
- Increased floor, ceiling or roof weight-level need increases
- Any other industry-specific equipment needs
- Flexibility for future/other tenant changes
In planning for new or retrofitted mixed-use interiors, all stakeholders should be involved from early on to ensure all requirements are laid out and addressed. The design team should plan not only for immediate issues, but future potential tenant/industry needs as well (to the best of their ability). However designing for potential future needs can have increased costs with no immediate ROI, so those thoughts, costs and plans need too be addressed as early as possible with the landlord to establish their value and importance of execution. It is also vital to understand that the more work which is done (for example for potential future tenant/industry needs) will likely decrease the amount of space which can be easily leased. Architects and designers up to date with the latest AutoCad software options and codes can plan for future outcomes such as these.
However it is not exclusively about tenant-specific mixed-use interior needs – there are growing trends and new construction methods that must be taken into account as well. These include being aware of, and integrating, building trends such as:
- Mobile tech
- Artificial intelligence
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Modular and prefab building materials
- 3D printing
- Increased social-distance spacing for staff/individual occupants
In new construction methods, drones, mobile technologies and VR/AR go hand in hand. Mobile platforms can be used with VR/AR to visualize and plan specific building integrations. Drones are great for camera capturing and visualization of landscapes or unfinished buildings; basically for spaces inconvenient or costly (time-wise and/or financially) for construction workers to access. 3D printing, as well as materials prefabrication, are methods to decrease costs of building elements and creation. Not only can these methods be built off-site and transported to the building space, they can be created and/or installed thanks to robotics. Sustainability is not a new trend, but it continues to grow in demand and supply techniques. And of course with the recent Corona virus outbreak, increased social distancing is in demand for staff in mixed-use interiors.
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