E4H Expansion Continues
E4H Environments for Health Architecture, an architecture firm focused exclusively on healthcare, today announced its latest expansion effort with the opening of its Nashville office and the appointment of Brian Willer, Managing Partner, to lead the office. With 16 years of experience, Mr. Willer will oversee services to major healthcare provider clients with headquarters in the South where demand for experienced healthcare design professionals is on the rise. The office is located at 750 Old Hickory Boulevard, Building 1 – Suite 275, Brentwood, TN 37027.
E4H offers comprehensive architectural services in healthcare design, with an expanded depth of experience, talent, and geographic reach. The firm has 160 healthcare planners and architects in offices across the United States and has collectively completed more than 6,500 healthcare projects over the past four decades. The E4H portfolio includes over $6 billion in projects, encompassing community hospitals, academic medical centers, life science laboratories, R&D space, children's hospitals, mental health facilities, ambulatory care centers, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living, and medical office buildings. Services include healthcare planning, architecture, and interior design.
“I look forward to growing E4H’s presence in this important market and am excited to build out our team of architects here further in the coming months,” said Brian Willer. I have lived in Nashville for 25 years and believe it is a special place, so it is an honor to be able to open an office for Environments for Health here and serve the community.”
Prior to joining E4H, Mr. Willer was an Senior Design Manager at Earl Swensson Associates and a Design Manager at the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), where he worked across the country managing the design process on multi-million-dollar projects.
“As our firm continues to grow and provide innovative design solutions to top national healthcare provider systems, it’s critical to expand our capabilities in key markets,” said Dan Morris, Partner, E4H. “We are thrilled to build a team out under Brian who understands the need providers have to balance the delivery of care with business imperatives.”
With 100% of its practice devoted to healthcare and health innovation, E4H focuses on delivering lean solutions to provide value, maximize the quality of care, and reduce overall costs.
Committed exclusively to the design of innovative health facilities, E4H Environments for Health is a national architecture firm focused on improving outcomes through inspired design. Our team of future-focused strategists and visionary health and life science architects create flexible, state-of-the-art facilities designed to enhance the well-being of our clients’ patients, staff and families. With more than four decades of experience, we provide value to our clients through the design of LEAN, economically and environmentally sustainable spaces. E4H’s unique SmartDesign process fosters collaboration and drives next-generation solutions to complex challenges encountered in today’s health landscape. Combining experience with for-profit and non-profit institutions allows us to provide efficient, speed-to-market solutions for our clients.
Eastern Maine Medical Center
A new kitchen and servery has just opened at Eastern Maine Medical Center. The project is part of a larger $305M modernization effort aimed at improving patient and staff satisfaction through a holistic approach to health and wellness. The new kitchen focuses on offering healthy, locally sourced foods with a new menu designed by a renowned chef. The servery offers guests a vibrantly designed food court with several options of food stations. The new layout connects to an open dining area which provides a gathering place and respite area. Through thoughtful phasing and the use of temporary facilities, E4H sequenced this renovation to minimize the impact to the hospital's food service work flow.
Science in Action: Visualizing and Desig
Laboratory architects have introduced innovative ideas to the biotech marketplace as the next generation of research and researchers continues to mature.
Today’s workplaces have been strongly influenced by the trend to provide modern comforts to employees. For example, architects are adapting plans to accommodate increased access to daylight, more flexible spaces that encourage idea sharing, and a variety of environments that can accommodate different personalities in the workplace.
Some of these trends are finding their way into the biotech workplace—enhancing the work environments of the front office and lab space at the back—while maintaining regulatory compliance.
Of the many design innovations architects are bringing to biotech offices and labs, one of the most impactful is the ability to provide transparency between non-classifi ed spaces (offices, corridors) and research and product manufacturing. By bringing researchers and scientists forward to the “front of the house” and making them visible, venture capitalists, investors and regulators can observe work being done and witness breakthroughs occuring. Glass walls around research spaces can also be a positive solution for giving regulators and auditors access to observe laboratory operations—without the need for them to gown up every time they want to inspect or review highly secure spaces where research is underway.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but in many ways, this change in biotech company work spaces mirrors changes in restaurant design, where today, more high-end eateries make chefs and their crews visible for patrons. Diners take pleasure and inspiration in seeing where their meals come from, who is preparing them and how.
We see that same sense of excitement from biotech stakeholders who today can visit a prospective portfolio company and witness researchers and technicians harvesting cultures, working with raw materials and using automated technologies. It’s one thing for a company executive to tell investors about progress on a new autoimmune disease treatment: it’s more powerful when the CEO can tour guests through a facility showing what researchers may be looking at in real time through the lens of a microscope. This is science in action.
The stakes are very high when it comes to transparency and allowing access to sensitive information. It has to be done carefully and is not for every biotech or pharmaceutical company. There are limits, of course, to how much companies can safely expose to public view, particularly in this era of heightened concerns about intellectual property protection.
Maximizing real estate spend
Another trend driving innovation in biotech space design is the steadily increasing cost of real estate, particularly in the research hubs where the best talent and the best companies want to be, such as Boston, New York, Seattle and San Francisco. Whether it’s renovating an old urban structure or building new, biotech companies are looking to architects to help manage and maximize their real estate investment.
Utilizing Smart Facility Design principles, architects can maximize workflow and create environments that are economically and environmentally sustainable. One leading example is the transition from stick-built, drywall-and-stud construction to modular environments, where prefabricated structures are created offsite and assembled quickly at their destination. For example, creating a modular cleanroom in a controlled shop, testing its systems and pre-commissioning it before bringing it to the site for installation provides cost and scheduling efficiencies. It allows builders to adhere to timelines, and bring in painters and floor installers as modular rooms arrive. Studies by Research and Markets project that modular construction for pharmaceutical and biotechnology facilities will grow by an annualized rate of about 9 percent between now and 2030—doubling every eight years on average. More than 80 percent of this modular construction will go to serve biologics manufacturing, 5 percent for other manufacturing, and 12 percent for research and development spaces. R&M predicts that 65 percent of modular/prefabricated construction for biotech/pharma will be to create new facilities, the other 35 percent expansions of existing sites.
In addition to modular construction, real estate spends are being maximized by designs that incorporate adaptable and multi-use spaces. Instead of creating rooms and areas that are dedicated to a sole function, many companies are opting for spaces that can serve multiple purposes.
Multiple spaces for multiple personalities
When it comes to office space, it’s no secret that there’s an ongoing debate about open floor plans versus traditional office layouts. However, it’s important that amidst the trend to attract millennial talent with open floor plans and foosball, architects do not lose sight of the unique culture of each biotech company they design for. Design needs to account for the many types of personalities in an organization. Some executives and scientists perform better in quiet space with doors that can close. Others prefer flexible spaces for spontaneous collaboration, and still others want to gather in a “corporate living room” to have an informal conversation. Ultimately, architects should look to the company founders for inspiration and to ensure the culture they created and seek is captured in any new design. A workspace that caters to many different personality types will help invigorate and retain talent.
What I’ve learned as an architect is: one size does not fit all. It’s critically important before we even begin to draw schematics that we do the work to understand the culture of the companies and organizations we are building for. The workplace has to work for all workers, in all generations, and for both extroverts and introverts. An obsessive insistence on an open workplace makes no more sense than does an obsessive insistence on making sure every employee has an office with a door that closes. The reality is, we need a mix of both, and almost all people working in a biotech environment will want and need both public and private spaces at different times in their work week.
The pace and promise of innovation in biotechnology have never been as exciting and challenging as they are now. For architects and designers, it’s a great time to work with biotech laboratories and researchers as they move toward the next generation of research.
On the Boards
Central Hub for Kettering Health Network
A conceptional design for Kettering Health Network Outpatient Surgery Waiting and Café encompasses all the latest evidence based design and human needs that are vital in healthcare environments. The concept was developed based on Ohio’s native botany and referenced throughout the design to create soft forms and use of indigenous materials. The space is a destination in the hospital that includes an open lounge area for staff to patient interaction, a café with ample seating, natural day light, and connectivity to the outdoors. The space has a monumental greeters desk which acts as the central framework from which additional features spire. The space overlooks a lush evergreen botanical garden - a space of respite for patients and staff.