Think Tanks, Innovation Centers and Maker Spaces… oh my!

Ten years ago, the term “Maker Space” was largely unknown, much less thought of as a mainstay for breeding innovation. Today, they are a fixture for academic, technology and production oriented-spaces, allowing a format to engage with the local community, foster employee creativity, and encourage ideas and new technology.


Maker Spaces are broadly defined as a ‘workshop’ where businesses and universities share manufacturing, prototyping, and fabrication equipment that may otherwise be inaccessible. While the name ‘Maker Spaces’ can be very generically identified, they are uniquely designed to address a specific goal set or cultivate a specific set of ideas. Boston Industrial has recently assisted clients with developing Maker Spaces from concept, detailed design through outfitting and start-up. One such client is Autodesk, an American multinational software corporation that makes software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries.


Autodesk became best known for AutoCAD but now develops a broad range of software for consumers, including Sketchbook, Homestyler, and Pixlr. Our overall goal at Autodesk was to foster technological and design innovation in the architectural, engineering, and construction industries in their BUILD Space. BIC presented concept and detailed images to Autodesk utilizing the 3D design software Revit to establish proper function and detailed layouts. This greatly aided the client and design team to assess spatial constraints and conflicts, coordinate MEP connection locations and provide a realistic representation of the facility before construction.


Another Boston Industrial Consulting client chose a more open-ended design, where their software-oriented team could imagine and create ideas in a highly functional area with easy to use equipment. The main focus is to offer a resource for their employees to tinker, create, and learn outside of the typical office environment. The area is outfitted with common Maker Space equipment including 3D printers, microelectronics workstations and laser cutters. It also features a Virtual Reality Space, a room where users can experience and use this tool for training and software integration.  BIC led the development of programming, equipment selection, budgeting, and installation logistics, using 3D modelling software to facilitate the proper architectural, engineering, and design choices.


Maker Spaces have quickly become a must-have feature for the companies and universities that are looking to stand out in their industries, attract top talent, and foster innovation. BIC’s experience in designing several concepts in this new and budding field will allow us to provide a key design role as Maker Spaces continue to populate the professional environment.