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A building system that can shrink the size of hospitals and schools

Posting in Design

When design looks good and does good at the same time, it's a winning combination. And when it does so in unexpected ways, it's even more exciting.

Such is the case with a new product called Holedeck, a patented system of waffle-like slabs, made of concrete, that can be used to build large structures such as hospitals and schools in a way that eliminates the need for suspended ceilings. The last part is key, because many large buildings that need lots of wiring--like hospitals and schools--also require architects to design ways to hide the wires. This adds to the size of the edifice, and the amount of materials used.

Holedeck, created by Spanish architects Alarcon + Asociados, offers an alternative. The system allows for all of the unsightly but vital elements of a busy building, from pipes to cables to ventilation ducts, to be incorporated within the floor structure itself. This means that space can be saved: according to the designers' product website for Holedeck, between a foot to 20 inches can be saved per floor. That's significant in terms of big buildings. Design site Dezeen analyzed that such calculations could mean that a structure that would normally require six stories could fit within the volume of a five story building if Holedeck were used.

And Holedeck looks cool. Dyes can be added, as it's made from concrete. As the product site claims, getting rid of the need for suspended ceilings can "provide greater freedom of design for the plant geometry and pillar placing." And Holedeck is already in use: Spanish communications company Logytel's forthcoming R&D offices, designed by Alarcon + Asociados, of course, will feature it.

Here's a video on how it works--and looks:

HOLEDECK BUILT from alarcon asociados on Vimeo.

Image: Vimeo still

[Via Dezeen]

— By on October 10, 2012, 1:49 PM PST

Reena Jana

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Reena Jana has written for the New York Times, Wired, Harvard Business Review online, Fast Company, Architectural Record, Artforum, Time Out New York, Harper's Bazaar, and GQ. Previously, she was the innovation department editor at BusinessWeek. She holds degrees from Columbia University and Barnard College. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure