Our David Pugh has written a new piece for the Chicago Business Journal – Rejuvenating Chicago’s older buildings with new ideas from new places – that looks at how owners, developers and designers are rethinking the traditional concept of common spaces. Pugh says, “spaces previously only active at key moments during the day (arrival, lunch, departure) are now ‘places to be’ all day long with food service, retail, group seating, art installations, concierge service and other unique features. The story offers Michigan Plaza as a leading-example of the trend and then dives into how ideas from other industries is fueling the shift.

On the influence of bold thinking in healthcare
At Minnesota Health, staff “concierges greet patients with mobile tablets through which they can check them in, find an open exam room, record health information and notify a doctor. This new approach allows M Health to accommodate twice as many patients with significantly less real estate than their previous facility and enhance patient experience. Already, some commercial buildings and clients are testing strategies that allow reception agents to serve similar concierge functions. These initial steps and the success at M Health should encourage designers and developers to think boldly about how new technology and evolving expectations can advance our corporate environments.

On how retail design can strengthen corporate real estate
The redesigned Chesterfield Towne Center in Virginia renovated a seldom-used central zone into a comfortable seating and gathering area inspired by a local state park. Similar to the sculptural chandelier being installed in Michigan Plaza, the central fire pit at Chesterfield serves as a focal point for people as they meet and socialize. Corporate buildings are dealing with a very similar challenge. As technology makes it easier for employees to work from any location, real estate leaders are adapting their buildings and spaces to foster interaction and reinforce collaboration and culture.