Revitalizing Buildings in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Sectors
Repurposing existing Healthcare and Life Science buildings to create adaptable and efficient spaces is the latest trend in addressing challenges such as inflation, labor shortages, supply chain disruptions, and enhanced technological integration.
Architects have become an integral part of this process!
Transformation Opportunities Abound
As the focus shifts towards ambulatory care centers, community health hubs, urgent care clinics, and virtual care settings, opportunities for building transformations have multiplied. Compared to ground-up construction, repurposing existing structures offers several advantages:
- Expedited construction timeline
- Delivering facilities to communities faster
- Minimizes waste and carbon footprint by diverting construction materials from landfills.
Modernizing infrastructure and embracing community engagement enables the creation of hospitality-driven. These technology-enabled environments enhance healthcare workers’ productivity and improve consumer experience and access. Architects are harnessing the potential of vacant retail stores and office buildings strategically positioned within cities to bring health and wellness services closer to the communities they serve.
Adapting Offices for Life Sciences
The pandemic catalyzed an increased demand for life sciences facilities while presenting a challenge of vacant office spaces. As of April 2023, a staggering 94 million square feet of office space lay empty in Manhattan alone. To counter the operational obsolescence of older office buildings, the concept of office-to-life sciences conversions has gained traction due to the speed-to-market and shorter construction timelines they offer.
For example, the CURE building in Manhattan is being repurposed into a vertical sciences campus. This innovative space supports multiple teams of scientists, fostering collaboration among life sciences, digital health, and tech-enabled companies. This transformation highlights the potential of reimagining existing buildings to address industry demands in the heart of urban centers.
From Offices to Healthcare Hubs
Office occupancy rates have dwindled, allowing buildings to transform into healthcare and life sciences sectors. Converting offices into healthcare spaces has gained momentum, driven by an aging population and expanded healthcare delivery. The Summit Health Multispecialty Hub in Clifton, New Jersey, exemplifies this trend, combining primary, specialty, and urgent care in a comprehensive facility. The transformation enhances patient experiences and aligns with a shared vision prioritizing efficiency.
Retail Spaces for Healthcare
The trend of repurposing retail spaces, often termed ‘medtail,’ has emerged as healthcare providers favor former big-box stores for clinics and offices. The closure of retail stores and high vacancy rates at shopping malls has paved the way for retail-to-healthcare conversions. The strategic geographic location of these spaces offers convenient access for healthcare customers, particularly the growing senior population.
The conversion of a former Crate & Barrel store into a 34,000-square-foot ambulatory care center in Bridgewater, New Jersey, showcases the potential of this trend. Architects can create healthcare environments that cater to patients’ needs by maximizing efficiency and natural light.