Originally published in High-Profile Monthly. By Jason Costello and Nathan Turner

May 20, 2016 – The requirement for hospitals to convert to electronic health records (EHR) is a significant endeavor that contains many challenges for the successful implementation of the technology. Adoption of EHR systems, as illustrated in recent media articles, can pose a steep learning curve for some medical staff. Technology change is particularly difficult in the ever shifting healthcare environment where staff commonly complain about high stress levels, being overworked, and not having enough time with patients. The EHR training requires a significant time commitment from both the employee and the institution. At the very least, EHR training sites should not contribute to these employee frustrations.

Training locations should be chosen to minimize the impact on employees’ daily commute and routine.

Locating EHR training within proximity of a clinical facility also reduces travel time for doctors and other employees on call, a hidden expense often overlooked when evaluating sites.

A variety of real estate options should be considered, from repurposing existing space on campus for training rooms to leasing commercial space and fitting out a training center. The most viable from a cost and convenience standpoint is to identify space on campus that can be temporarily utilized for the short but intensive training. Smaller community hospitals can utilize their existing multipurpose room or large conference room as the training setting. These spaces can put limitations on class size and functionality but often have the basic AV requirements for computer instruction and can be readily converted to accommodate the classroom function.

Larger institutions may choose a commercial lease and fit out a custom training center programmed to meet their specific training needs. This provides them with a highly customized classroom setting that aligns with their short-term training plan while addressing other long-term facility needs for meeting rooms, clinical simulation labs, and ongoing EHR training for new staff. When placing a training facility in a commercial multitenant building, issues of access and schedule must be addressed with property management. If large groups are accessing secure entrances and elevators simultaneously, it will inevitably impact building security staff, other tenants, and visitors. Some landlords may require a design that supports additional entry/check-in areas dedicated to trainees.

Other alternatives to building dedicated training space may be advantageous for organizations trying to manage the initial capital costs of both a new facility and the procurement of new EHR technology. Short-term rental contracts can be made at training centers, convention sites, and, for smaller hospitals, hotels. Choosing a temporary offsite training location also eliminates the challenge of repurposing a new fit-out space for future uses.

The design of the classroom and adjacent amenities can impact how the training process is perceived by staff. Two important design factors include: 1) right-sizing the classroom to avoid overcrowding and improve visibility to the instructor’s projection screen and 2) designing the HVAC systems to ensure the training rooms are kept at a comfortable temperature for everyone. The latter is especially important if the classroom function is a change in occupancy from the standard business and hospital occupancy to assembly occupancy, impacting the HVAC systems to provide appropriate cooling and ventilation for the occupants and the computer heat loads.

For example, Margulies Perruzzi Architects recently designed a training center for a major academic medical center, establishing the optimal classroom size at 850sf to 900sf. This was determined by evaluating coursework hours, students, classes per day, space available, total employees trained, and ideal class size. Classrooms were designed for 16 to 20 work stations to achieve a good balance of efficiency and personalized attention. The combination of these factors determines the overall schedule of the training period; a recent client required 12 months to train more than 18,000 employees. MPA also replaced the majority of the HVAC system and provided a new variable air volume (VAV) system for the training center. This upgrade to the existing space provided increased cooling capacity for the change in use, as well as individual temperature controls for adjustment in each classroom.

There are many variables in the design of EHR training centers. The goal should be to create a positive training experience that promotes learning and helps hospitals make this technology transition smoothly, without inflicting more stress and frustration on their employees.

Jason Costello, AIA, EDAC, is an associate principal and partner, and Nathan Turner, AIA, LEED AP, is an associate partner and senior project manager at Margulies Perruzzi Architects.

Design strategy creates upscale and amenity-rich Class A office building in Boston suburb

BOSTON – May 17, 2016 – Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA), one of Boston’s most innovative architectural and interior design firms, announced that it has been selected to revitalize and reposition UPLAND in Norwood, Massachusetts for Campanelli, a full-service commercial real estate development, acquisition and construction management company. Campanelli engaged MPA to work with their design, leasing and construction teams to develop a comprehensive strategy for improvements to the 193,000 SF Class A office building that was formerly known as Upland Woods Building 100.

“You can count on one hand the number of options of brand-new Class A product currently available in the Route 128 South market. We will be best option in this submarket and provide great value for companies being priced out of the Burlington/Waltham area,” explained Steve Murphy, partner and principal of acquisitions at Campanelli. “Leveraging our successful partnership from the similar repositioning of three buildings at Heritage Landing in North Quincy, MPA worked collaboratively with us to significantly transform UPLAND and give it a strong position in the Route 128 South market.”

MPA and Campanelli started the design process with a careful analysis of market demand in order to design a uniquely attractive asset that appeals to both established and growing companies. Inside, MPA created a dramatic amenity street that connects the new east and west entries and offers all tenants access to the new, two-story sky lit atrium. This central street with storefront-style tenant entrances is dotted with impromptu gathering spaces to create community for tenants. UPLAND’s large floor plates and exposed high ceilings provide tenants with open, flexible and brightly lit spaces and accommodate companies starting at 11,000 SF. Multiple new exterior entrances provide convenient access to parking, and new landscaped areas offer tenants seating space for outdoor meetings. A former Polaroid manufacturing center, UPLAND’s dramatic revitalization includes a new full-service café, a best-in-market fitness center with a virtual ride instruction spin studio, conference facilities, and a gaming area with foosball, ping pong tables and shuffleboard.

Located directly off I-95, UPLAND is at the epicenter of the region’s leading amenity hubs, including Legacy Place and University Station. A true live-work-play environment, the campus includes One Upland, a newly-developed, 262-unit luxury apartment community, and is within minutes of the Route 128 MBTA commuter rail and Amtrak train station. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is the exclusive leasing agent for UPLAND. The project is expected to be complete in September 2016. A fly-through video of UPLAND may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQjpxGvw2tc.

About Margulies Perruzzi Architects
Consistently ranked as one of Boston’s top architectural and interior design firms, Margulies Perruzzi Architects creates buildings and interiors for clients who value the quality of their workplace. The firm services the corporate, professional services, healthcare, science/technology, and real estate communities with a focus on sustainable design. MPA has designed high performance workspace for Iron Mountain, Zipcar, Boston Scientific, Philips, Cimpress/Vistaprint, Forrester Research, Hobbs Brook Management, and Reliant Medical Group. For more information, please visit http://www.mp-architects.com.

About Campanelli
Established in 1947, Campanelli is a third generation, full-service commercial real estate development and acquisition company with extensive experience in the industrial, office, medical office, warehouse/distribution, retail, educational and cold storage markets. Campanelli began building homes during WWII and transitioned from residential to commercial real estate in the 1960’s. The team, known for their seamless ability to work with their clients and act as the “real estate division” of a company, has developed 11 business parks in Massachusetts, over 20 million square feet across the nation and provided international development consulting and site selection services. The company’s signature capabilities include land development, design and build, redevelopment and value-added acquisitions. It is Campanelli’s all-encompassing and quality services that have led to its successful track record as a highly-regarded developer; from site selection, feasibility analysis, local, state and federal permitting, to architectural and engineering design, building construction and facilities and property management. For more information, visit our new website at Campanelli.com.

Media Contact:
Michele Spiewak
Rhino PR

By Rui Miguel Ribeiro.

May 13, 2016 – The MPA competition team is a fluid, flexible collection of people that want to keep expanding our design experience and building stronger relationships within the office. By entering competitions, we can work on project types we don’t typically get to – with people we don’t necessarily work with every day. The Northern Avenue Bridge Ideas competition immediately generated buzz around the office because everyone was familiar with the project and its history.

We started as a large group in our discussions and even took advantage of the warm weather to go visit the existing bridge at lunch time. Eventually, the team became Kelsey Bridge, John Greene, Josh LaBeau, Jon Neal, and me. At first, we each came up with our own ideas and presented to them to each other. While all very different on the surface, we identified the partial reuse of the existing bridge and connection to the water as common features that were important to us all. Through a few 3d models, sketches, and late nights, we simplified our concept and form into our final submission.

Using the existing bridge as inspiration, we began to focus on the central node as a historical center piece and decided to create a passive gallery around it. The lookout extends from there to provide additional views of the harbor and a timeline displaying the history of the Boston skyline. Lastly, we proposed an invitation of artists to reuse nonstructural portions of the existing bridge to populate a public sculpture garden that extends the length of the bridge. Over and around these programs is a continuous circulation path that provides connections between the greenway, harbor walk, and Children’s Wharf Park.

Our “thesis statement” for our presentation board was as follows:

“Intertwining the connection between History, Art, Engineering this bridge works to mend the urban tissue that seems disconnected between the two districts, the seaport and downtown. The design focuses on 4 main elements: Revealing, Recalling, Reconnecting, Reusing, to create an entirely new public space.”
Our board is below – click for a larger image, or download a full sized PDF here! Or, just scroll down for inline reading.

Bridging History: Through Art + Engineering

Intertwining the connection between History, Art, Engineering this bridge works to mend the urban tissue that seems disconnected between the two districts, the seaport and downtown. The design focuses on 4 main elements: Revealing, Recalling, Reconnecting, Reusing, to create an entirely new public space.

-REVEALING. The path peels back to reveal the structure of the old bridge, the reveals form circulation and act as destination points for seating and viewing. Allowing the viewer to pause and reflect.
-RECALLING. Positioned as a central focal point in the design, the drum is reminiscent of the old bridge, a void left after its removal. The circulation spirals around the drum, evoking the movement of the bridge, allowing the viewer to circumvent the drum. This works in combination with images and text recalling the engineering feature that once was.
-RECONNECTING. In order to mend the existing circulation, the bridge acts as an integral connection between the Harborwalk and the Greenway. Using a mixture of Soft scape and hardscape to blend the environment of the two paths, while the bridge tiers in elevation to allow for increased accessibility along the shores.
-REUSING. Repurposing what was to remain of the bridges truss system, it acts as a gateway from the historic downtown of the Boston, opening towards the constantly evolving seaport district. From what couldn’t be repurposed structurally is given to local artists to form into sculptures along the bridge path. Memorializing the materials that are interpreted into a contemporary form of art curated from the public.

History Diagram – The bridge takes a turn, hinging out from the drum, it slopes up to a viewing platform overlooking the Boston Harbor. Imprinted on the glass are a timeline of sketches that give a glimpse to the past, while remaining transparent to respect where it is today

GATEWAY – a portion of the historic Northern Avenue Bridge stands tall; repurposed as a sculptural gateway from downtown to the new bridge and reference to the scale and engineering of the time.

LOOKOUT – The lookout reaches toward the Atlantic, serving as a destination and area to view the Boston harbor both as it stands and as it has changed over the years via marked locations and etched skylines.

PATH- the connection serves as both destination and path. There are meandering and direct routes across to serve a variety of pedestrian traffic and activity, whether commuting or visiting.

GARDEN – the public space will provides a new gathering location for the expanding Seaport population as well as a sculpture park. Artists from near and far will be asked to display their sculptures made using portions of the Northern Avenue Bridge that are no longer used.

GLOW – the underside of the pedestrian bridge will light up to serve as a beacon in the channel and increase visibility. This creates a safer, more welcoming bridge that ensures this will be the preferred path to the seaport and proper extension of the greenway.

GALLERY – using the existing drum and putting the mechanics of the old bridge on display at the center, a destination is created. Here, historical drawings and information regarding Boston’s engineering history, including the Northern Avenue Bridge, will be on display on the glass walls of the passive gallery.

PORTAL- the tissue between the Fan Pier Park and the Children’s Wharf Park, the Portal continues the harbor walk and completes the Seaport waterfront. The floating level continues this connection and provides area for docking, recreation and circulation. Openings in the bridge allow light to penetrate and an aural connection to the activity above.