Nov 18, 2022


by Sharon Crawford

Key Takeaways from Tradeline’s University Facilities for the Sciences and Advanced Technologies 2022 Fall Conference

I recently attended Tradeline’s University Facilities for the Sciences and Advanced Technologies 2022 fall conference in San Antonio, TX, alongside Senior Lab Planner Joe Wagner. The conference highlighted the latest space planning, facility design, and building construction solutions for advanced technology facilities, engineering, and higher education science.

Joe and I met with university facility planners, engineers, design architects, and key project stakeholders across the industry and attended sessions on space planning, capital project strategies, and state-of-the-art facility concepts. The discussions were informative and thought-provoking, and we identified three key takeaways.

Creating synergy between science, engineering, and the fine arts is important.

  • Science in action is valuable to all campus curriculums.
  • Four components to a MakerSpace are: design, meeting, assembly, and core lab areas.
  • The vision for a MakerSpace must drive the program.

Function vs. Ownership

  • It takes strong vision and leadership to overcome institutionalized norms. You must consider the space type versus the department to maximize functional efficiency.
  • Focus on shared space for all.
  • Cultivate corridor culture by creating 8’- 0”+ wide spaces that double as circulation and collaboration

Renovation vs New Construction Considerations

  • Renovation is better for the planet.
  • Evaluate the flexibility and functionality of the existing infrastructure and determine if there is swing space availability.
  • Increase access to natural light.
  • Evaluate MEP Systems and consider safety and code requirements.
NeoCity Academy, MakerSpace

It’s no secret that the Science & Technology industry is booming. Higher education facilities must be prepared to offer top-tier programs for the next generation of innovators.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! If you want more information on this topic or wish to talk further, please contact Sharon Crawford.


Sharon Crawford

Sharon Crawford is the Workplace Interiors Studio Principal in Little’s Durham office. With over 30 years of experience, Sharon’s passion and motivation centers on building client relationships, teamwork, and high-quality design. She has worked on award winning projects throughout the Triangle region and beyond. She's known for sporting the coolest sneakers in and outside the office. When she's not in the baseball stands cheering on her son, Sharon can be found snow skiing, enjoying local artwork, or sipping on an iced tea.

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