BRIDGING WITH COMMON
What inspires someone to
get up, walk across the room
and start a conversation?
Answering that question helps
us develop “bridging” strategies.
Bridging strategies are used to
create impromptu interactions
that help facilitate some of
the knowledge transfer that is
critical to evolving ideas into
discoveries. By placing different
amenities strategically throughout a facility or even a campus—
we create a natural prompt to
engage with people outside of
one’s own department or cohort.
In the Zayed Building, we
made different types of amenities available in the central hub
on different floors, connecting
them with a large open stairwell
in the middle of the building.
This created a “vertical spine”
where researchers are encouraged to interact with other
researchers working on entirely
The Williamson Translational
Research Building (WTRB),
which enables new collabora-
tions and research to advance
traditional healthcare delivery by
integrating science, education and clin-
Hitchcock Medical Center, provides an
example of how bridging can be used on
a larger campus. As this was an addition
on an existing campus, we strategical-
ly mapped out the current social hot
spots that could be used to nurture and
amplify interactions across campus. We
wanted to encourage people to
go to other places on campus and
cross paths with other research-
ers and providers that they might
not interact with otherwise. This
strategy simultaneously helped cut
costs and supported the mission of
the new building.
These three strategies are often
used to create transdisciplinary
networks that support both
organized and impromptu work.
Future articles will look at strategies used to spur experimentation,
collaboration and connection
within these networks and strategies used to attract the best and
brightest to the lab.
1. Rosenfield, P. L. The potential
of transdisciplinary research for
sustaining and extending linkages
between the health and social sciences. Social Science & Medicine,
1992, 35( 11), 1343-1357.
2. Kabo, F. W., Cotton-Nessler,
N., Hwang, Y., Levenstein, M. C., &
Owen-Smith, J. Proximity effects on
the dynamics and outcomes of scientific collaborations. Research Policy,
2014, 43( 9), 1469-1485.
3. Di Donna, M. A beacon for
healthcare. Laboratory Design,
November 2016. http://bit.ly/2AemQLX
Thomas Smith, AIA, LEED AP, is
Design Director, Education|Science|Tech,
with HDR. www.hdrinc.com
In the MD Anderson Zayed Building, different types of amenities are available in the central hub on different floors, which is connected by a large, open stairwell.
As part of the design process for the Williamson Translational Research
Building, social hotspots were mapped out on the Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Medical Center campus that could be used to nurture connections outside
the walls of the building.