In sharp contrast to centuries
gone by, today most of human activities take place within buildings. But great
architectural designs don't just happen. They are planned to look good and perform
well. So how does it all happen? The experts say programming the requirements
of a proposed building is the architect's first task, and certainly one of the
most important tasks, simply because no one can or should build anything, without
programming the area and construction cost of a structure before initiating its
design. Have you ever thought of what really makes a reality the very building
you're in right now or what it takes to get it come to life?
The building and construction market is one of the most profitable arenas throughout
the world. Buildings are not only used as shelter, to perform complex functions
or become a source of leisure but also the idea of them as "real estate" makes
them a prime target for investment all over the world. Although construction techniques
and design methods have become sophisticated, determining what needs to be built
remains generally a somewhat imprecise exercise unless proper architectural
space programming is done. In this special edition of Business World News, we
are highlighting a programming and planning firm that has been using for the past
6 years a unique software program that calculates a Hospital's internal areas
and construction cost based on its internal functions, the demand of its services,
how many people use the space in their building and how they use it.
ON Camera: MARIO MACHADO
MEDICAL ARCHITECTURE, a Los Angeles firm, believes
that a successfully built infrastructure depends directly on the initial programming
phase preceding its design. The firm recognizes that the space programming process
requires an expeditious, versatile, fail-safe tool, so they developed arcSP, a
software program, designed to assist users in their effort to determine the most
appropriate building size and cost for their projects.
Medical Architecture was formed as a consulting firm providing architectural space
planning and programming for clients building new hospitals and redesigning old
ones. The company then formed a marketing company called Architronix Software
to market arcSP, a software program that dramatically decreases the architectural
space programming phase and consequently the overall project process.
Q.1 Who actually benefits from using your software, Hector?
Just about everybody
who has participation on the decision making process of any project. Candidates
that come to mind are certainly architects and architectural students, civil engineers,
and planning specialists. Individual Clients or institutions that use the programming
consulting services benefit the most. Now with arcSP, all those wishing to become
more knowledgeable may empower themselves not only to acquire valuable information
but to make vital decisions for their project. Other users, just to mention a
few in the health care industry, may be health facility administrators, doctors,
public health officials, etc.
Q.2 And is your software only for use by
the medical field?
ArcSP has the ambitious goal to start developing additional
building types for all types of construction infrastructure worldwide. Then, the
client base for our services will expand exponentially providing a much-needed
service to an enormous global audience. We trust that our services will add a
unique web-based tool, readily accessible anywhere, anytime and at an affordable
The traditional methods used to determine the quantity
of rooms and their area range from a simple wish list to a detailed space program.
Architronix Software says that with their software, there are no hidden costs
in factoring operations. Both the client and architect using their software will
experience accuracy, speed and a boost in profitability.
exactly is Space Programming?
Until now, space planning
and programming was implemented without taking the full advantage of computer
interactivity. But Architronix Software says arcSP's tools facilitate a degree
of versatility and precision never seen before in building space programming.
Architectural space programming takes activities, equipment and occupancy into
consideration. More importantly, the knowledge of the spaces' workload is a major
driver to determine how many rooms will be required. Workload consists on utilization
factors such as the time that takes to perform a major surgical procedure, the
hours and days of operation of the surgical department and certainly the volume
of the surgical interventions to be performed.
Q.4 Your industry is certainly
very competitive, what do you think are your company's major strengths?
Hector: The major strength is the arcSP architectural space program simply because,
to the best of our knowledge, our software has no other parallel competition.
Even more important: arcSP will be available on the Internet. Anybody, anywhere
in the world will be able to get a subscription and benefit from repeated access
not only to accurately calculate their project, have total accountability on the
decision making process, and also will be able to save the results in their computer.
Then, the data could be manipulated in any way to suit specific preferences. In
addition, since the project will be saved permanently in our server, repeated
access from anywhere is guaranteed to make further corrections, discuss options
with peers or Clients, create additional schemes, or study alternate scenarios.
OFTEN WILL WE BE DOING BACK UP OF A CLIENT'S PROJECT IN OUR SERVERS???? constantly
These discussions can be made without the trouble of carrying reports, disks,
files, etc¥, because the project is secured information and available through
the Internet, enabling full access anywhere in the world using a computer with
a Web Browser.
Another of our services is a web portal that will
provide a source of information for all to have. In our experience, dictating
planning seminars and making presentations, we invariably hear the question: Where
can I find data on ¥? The site will become a dynamic, ever-growing bank and repository
of background material, idea/exchange forum, and a source of industry-related
links. Eventually it will assemble a global assortment of building codes, planning,
programming and design norms, building techniques, materials and equipment, etc.
together with the registration of firms and individuals willing to promote their
presence. ( for our users to know is that hundreds of buildings worldwide have
benefited from its use so we know that we have a highly sought after tool.)
Q.5 And your competitors?
Hector: We do not have competitors. Our aim
is to provide end users with a tool that they can use for themselves and their
Clients' advantage. The overall building process will benefit, time schedules
will be slashed, and consequently costs will be reduced.
rather than competitors are mainly space programming consultants that perform
this task without the dynamic tool we're offering. But it shall be clear that
these consultants will benefit using our tool, which they can drastically reduce
their labor, cost and time.
The process of contemporary
construction is evolving from the traditional design of edifices to a more complex
set of disciplines involving management, building improvement, and modification
of infrastructure throughout its life cycle.
future of building design is much more focused on functionality not just aesthetics.
Architecture consists of identifying problems and solving them creatively. The
arcSP system readily identifies quantitative evaluations of a building's space
needs that anticipate operating costs, sets measures for both operational and
facility performance, and remains dynamic and receptive to innovation during the
Only recently, architects have become
finders of sites suitable for development, development consultants, construction
managers and even software creators. Some, in their pursuit of becoming more useful
to owners and contractors, have evolved into experts in strategic planning, real
estate development, and property management.
Architects are aware of the importance that planning and design play in the vital
success of institutions and the effective performance of their staff and equipment.
Facility programming now means quantifying quality, prioritizing competing capital
needs, and measuring facility function and efficiency.
investigative team uncovered that this software allows maximizing the use of existing
physical plants and reducing ongoing operational costs over the entire facility
life cycle. It also determines the reuse and retrofit of existing facilities and
facility conversions. Over 300 facilities, in various countries, have benefited
from Mr. Patrucco's architectural space programming knowledge. The program offers
preparation of long-range facility reconfiguration strategies and implementation
plans that address immediate, short-term and long-term needs. And the determination
of facility needs determine mergers, affiliations, acquisitions, and other collaborative
Q.6 How do you plan to commercialize your software,
"with an interactive web-based program, that meets industry
standards, but that is very flexible for the end-user to manipulate, depending
on location and currency. We will be offering a very affordable architectural
space program online for different building types, starting with health care facilities,
in which the average end-user will subscribe to on a monthly basis. As Steve Ballmer,
CEO of Microsoft predicts, software will be treated as a service and companies
will charge users an upfront monthly fee. Our product, arcSP, will offer any builder,
architect, and entrepreneur an opportunity to do the space programming process
inexpensively and quickly while at the same time achieving accuracy and high value."
Q.7 And your revenue streams?
"The building, design, and construction
industries worldwide are over $3 Trillion dollars in size. Since every type of
structure, before it's built, must go through the architectural space programming
task, we feel that our program will have many users wishing to reduce considerably
the amount of time and money they have to spend on traditional methods."
arcSP not only determines the size of a new project but
also assists organizations in identifying programs and services that need immediate
renovation and replacement, or that may require assistance in implementation of
immediate phases of a long-range facility development strategy, prior to architectural
On Camera: Close
In the very same way the 45-minute
film development and one-hour reading glasses have revolutionized their respective
markets, Architronix Software believes that arcSP is poised to allow their users
to calculate, in minutes, basic requirements without the need for costly intermediaries.
The company says they strongly challenge "business as usual" assumptions, and
encourage "outside the box" thinking in considering new ways to determine a building's
area and construction cost. From Woodland Hills, California, I'm Mario Machado,
for Business World News.