As I drove to work this morning, one big rain drip hit my windshield, then another, followed by another. I pulled into the parking lot and made my way into the building before sheets of rain started barreling down bringing with it tremendous wind and a black sky. We began commenting on the elegance of how the rain sweeps across the streets just before the first flicker of lights, followed by a few rapid flickers when suddenly our office was darker than the sky outside. Iphones armed with flashlight apps emerged and investigations began to take place. Emails were read and then the dreaded happened, the server went down.
The dark office didn’t stop us, but the dreaded “Unable to Connect” error stopped us in our tracks. After much deliberation and everyone offering a hypothesis like eleventh grade chemistry class, our department made it’s way to the nearest Starbucks. Packed with business suites, ties and laptops, we fought for a table, ordered drinks and set in for a morning of work. It soon became clear that the server we were trying to connect to was in our office building, not another facility as previously thought.
The temporary impairment of technology caused us to change our course and tackle another task. Just ten years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. Ten years ago we could have been potentially drafting by candlelight. Interior colors, not so much, but drawings could have come together. I can’t even begin to imagine trying to read email by candle light, that would be a sight!
When designing a space, it’s important to understand how technology plays a role and what you can do as a designer or facilities manager to integrate the technology into the building to eliminate as many potential headaches as possible. Today I learned a little more about the ways technology interfaces with a building and how it effects the occupants and their work.