Built for speed
Healthcare construction firm spurs new approaches to integrating hospitals with fast-changing technology
SAN BRUNO, CA – Deepak Aatresh co-founder of startup design/build firm Aditazz, came originally from the semiconductor industry, but since founding the company, he's been thinking a lot about architecture and construction.
Not long ago, Aatresh had a thought: "You know what? Computer chips and buildings are alike." Both are complex, three-dimensional structures, he says. Both are made using sand and metal. When designing a chip, the layout is called a "floorplan." And with "all the connections between air handlers and mechanical ducts and electrical switch gears and electrical sockets," the complex connectivity of a chip is similar to that of a building.
The healthcare and construction industries have some things in common: both have garnered criticism for lagging other industries when it comes to making optimal use of technology.
"We believe that nothing major has happened in the constructuion industry for many many years now," says Aatresh. "The construction industry really hasn't taken advantage of technology … it's a very uncoordinated, fragmented industry, and there's lots of waste – waste is estimated at 30 percent, and it's a trillion dollar industry."
When Aditazz started, its founders looked around for a sector to focus on – one that had "not seen the benefits of technology," says Aatresh. "Is there an industry that is really, really suffering because of the lack of innovation in construction? What stood out was healthcare."
Aditazz aims to bring "disruptive innovation" to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, says Aatresh. With a staff comprising computer scientists, architects, systems and structural engineers, modular construction professionals, medical planners and healthcare executives, the company's self-professed goal is nothing short of "revolutionizing the built-environments industry" through innovation and process optimization.
Recently, the firm beat out more than 100 other companies in Kaiser Permanente's "Small Hospital, Big Idea Competition."
(It tied for the top spot, alongside Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch, which partnered with Perkins+Will on a design concept that sought, in part, to "transform the process of receiving and giving care by re-conceptualizing people’s relationship to both technology and nature.")
Aditazz's idea focused on innovative spaces meant to inspire interpersonal connections, and incorporated civic spaces that "blur the boundaries" between community and hospital settings. Most notably, the concept centered on an IT platform that helps designers explore and play with many operational and space scenarios before settling on a design.