8D — January 25 - February 7, 2019 — 2019 Forecast — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


C oworking

By Lauren Foster, AKF Group AKF provides engineering design services for flexible work spaces

City, I took on major en- g i n e e r i n g projects for AKF Group i n N o r t h - ern Virginia with clients like the Dis- trict Wharf W

Coworking offices provide flexibility to adapt to the ever- changing needs of diverse

hen I relocated to Washington, D.C. f rom New York

Coworking spaces can bring challenges to zoning and MEP/ FP design, as layout and oc- cupant density may frequently change. AKF has provided We- Work with engineering design and coordination with building owners in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. WeWork’s densely occupied test-fits were a first for their landlord at 1900 Market St. in Philadelphia, but AKF successfully negotiated re- quired power and air condition- ing on WeWork’s behalf. With locations around the world, including 13 in Washington, DC, WeWork is on the leading

edge of the coworking trend. In 2018, coworking spaces popped up in some unexpected venues. Spacious is a company that partners with upscale restaurants in New York and San Francisco to rent dining rooms to coworkers during off- hours. Spacious has created venues that won’t kick you out no matter how long you’re using the wifi. Similarly, hotels such as Sheraton and Marriott lure new guests with stylish cowork- ing spaces in their lobbies that are open to the public; no room key required. Coworking can also target the needs of specific industries by building within special facil- ities. In New Jersey, Princeton University and Biolabs opened the Princeton Innovation Cen- ter, a 31,000 s/f coworking space for tech startups. AKF provided engineering design services for the new incubator facility. The project converted an existing lab into a modern collaboration-style lab on Princ- eton University’s campus. With capacity for 25 startups, the Princeton Innovation Center contains a wet lab, dry lab, plus all the networking and support services inherent in any co- working community. Following the “agile work environment method”, the lab encourages collaboration and socialization among startups. Some coworking spaces of- fer special amenities that are harder to find in a traditional office. My dog walker takes her dog to work at ALX Com- munity in Alexandria, VA. In Tenleytown, Washington, DC, Two Birds combines coworking with childcare. The center is staffed with full time, licensed childcare professionals, al- lowing parents to bring their children for the day and leave the building if they need to go to a meeting. Coworking is not just for startups or the self-employed. It’s for anyone, from any indus- try, who needs a desk and dedi- cated space to get stuff done. Because of its versatile nature, I predict that in 2019 we will see more flexible work spaces opening in our region, taking on new and creative forms to meet the needs of a dynamic workforce and community. Lauren Foster is a senior electrical engineer at AKF Group with an instinctive grasp of building codes, standards, industry trends, and the electrical design and construction process. 

ing and diversifying. Having witnessed this firsthand from my desk at Novel Coworking

Coworking is not just for startups or the self-employed. It’s for anyone, from any industry, who needs a desk and dedicated space to get stuff done.

design teams and consultants with collaboration areas and meeting spaces. On a personal level, they also provide a com- munity with whom to socialize and network outside of AKF’s offices. The market for coworking and flexible work spaces is grow-

where new clients seem to tour and enroll daily, I anticipate the trend will continue to grow in 2019. Private offices are get- ting furnished in the back of the space, while up front furniture is arranged as an open work environment with desks and collaboration areas.

Lauren Foster

and Inova Health System. To maintain proximity with clients and better serve them, I set up shop at Novel Co- working in Alexandria, VA.

Photo © Eric Laignel / M Moser Associates

ENGINEERING LEADERSHIP MEP/ FP Engineering, Analysis & Testing, Architectural Code Consulting, BIM Management, Building Controls, Central Utilities, Cogeneration, Commissioning, Critical Systems, Energy & Sustainability, Fire & Life Safety, IT /AV / Security, Lighting Design, Special Inspections akfgroup.com

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