HOK designers in New York, St. Louis and Atlanta are using virtual meetings with their University at Buffalo (UB) client team to improve the design process for UB’s new School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
The seven-story medical school will bring 2,000 UB faculty, staff and students daily to downtown Buffalo and, at more than 500,000 square feet, will be one of the largest buildings constructed in Buffalo in decades.
Three days after Hurricane Sandy barreled into the East Coast last October, HOK’s project team was scheduled to have a meeting with medical school dean Michael E. Cain, MD, and UB’s project steering committee. Jim Berge, AIA, HOK’s director of Science + Technology in New York and principal-in-charge for the project, was stranded at home in Norwalk, Conn., with no power or Internet connection. Berge was able to make his way to a local café, where he connected a smartphone to his cable Wi-Fi service to create his own Wi-Fi hotspot. This allowed him to use his iPad as both a video link and an audio communication device while participating in the meeting through a WebEx connection.
The rest of the UB team members joined the meeting from four different cities the way they have been getting together on most Friday mornings since the project began last June: through ultra-high-resolution Cisco videoconferencing technology installed in dedicated Advanced Collaboration Rooms (ACRs) in HOK’s New York, St. Louis and Atlanta offices. The client team joins from an ACR built in HOK’s field office, a converted 20-person conference room in UB’s Farber Hall.
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John Gilmore brings the story of HOK to life for the world, literally. As a senior writer based in St. Louis, his words shine an intelligent light on the people, projects and experiences of the firm on the web, in print and in speeches given all over the globe. More posts by John Gilmore.