Reframing Building Challenges as Opportunities

Even the most experienced architects and designers can become quickly frustrated when a building’s design has seemingly hamstrung their vision. No matter how a physical space is letting you down, try to remember that obstacles can be interior design opportunities in disguise. When it comes to AV design, qualified AV design consultants can partner with you and collaborate to make the most of any space you encounter. Here are a few examples. 

1. Limited – or no – space for screens. 

Much of  AV design is dependent on screens, whether it is for a wayfinding application, digital art or interactive TVs. So when a building is deficient on the space front, it is normal to feel like your options are limited too. 

Instead of viewing it this way, reframe this as a chance to think creatively. Not only are there a wide variety of screen formats from which you can choose, there are also multiple ways to achieve the same goal. For instance, you may not have space for large, rectangular wayfinding screens throughout your facility. But could you use long, skinny screens instead? 

One facility told patients to “follow the flying birds” in order to get to the right place, using a unique method that incorporated both technology and static signage. The point is – you have options, even if they might be a little more difficult to discover. 

2. Lacking acoustics. 

Another common building problem occurs when a space has been designed without sound in mind. Whether the materials used were not conducive to soundproofing or sound amplification where needed, or the ceilings are too high and the echo too strong, sound mishaps happen all the time. Again, such situations do not mean you cannot achieve the end-user’s goals for the space. They just mean you need to be a bit more intentional in planning the way you get there. 

For instance, we helped a medical facility with extremely poor existing acoustics control their noise levels and protect speech privacy throughout their building. We first determined their goals and then worked backward to fulfill them by using the right speakers, sound masking, and music. You can do the same in nearly any space, no matter how subpar the sound situation seems at first, as long as you are willing to be creative and flexible. 

3. Awkward architecture 

Finally, what about weird design flaws? This is more typical in renovated buildings than it is in new construction, but stay in the industry long enough and you will see it all. What we mean by awkward architecture are the buildings that have a jutting wall here or a too-small space there. While some of these problems can be fixed during renovations, not every project comes with enough funds to address every issue. So, in these cases, you have to adapt. 

Pretend you encounter a building in which the rooms are way too small but there is no feasible way to expand them. Instead of washing your hands of the build, consider what you can do to make the rooms appear larger. Is there a budget for expanding the size of the windows? Or, could you install large-screen, interactive TVs that can give the feel of looking outside (and therefore having more space)?

Another example is when a space is planned without knowledge of how the AV systems will ultimately be used. This can leave you with logistical problems like not having enough ports or missing mounts and so forth. The best way to avoid this is by working with an experienced partner early on, but second best is to bring one in as soon as possible. Our team at PIVIUM is well-versed in mapping out wiring in difficult spaces and working around bizarre physical designs that look like impediments to success. Try to reframe any future problems as opportunities, and loop in a partner to help you too. Give us a call to start working with us today!

Instead of being frustrated by space limitations, how can architects and designers get creative and work around them to make an even better space?