Together We Are—Co|Lab
In 1937, HITT was founded by entrepreneurs; today we continue to cultivate that entrepreneurial spirit. By definition, entrepreneurs take considerable initiative and risk in business. By empowering our team members to question the status quo and seek new construction means and methods, we have developed critical solutions and gained productivity on our projects. Several years ago, our leadership team decided it was critical to capture these project-level impacts and leverage them more broadly. While I am a passionate believer in innovation, I also know that to inspire a cultural shift, we must be fully committed. Co|Lab marks HITT’s investment in a formal research and development program, and is a critical step in the evolution of our business.
The construction industry has historically invested less than one percent of our revenue into research and development; similar industries such as manufacturing invest nearly four percent. This lack of funding has exacerbated the digitization gap that exists between the construction industry and the clients for which we build. We must embrace innovation, not only to keep up with our clients, but to honor our responsibility to the environment and the building industry.
Designed by renowned architect William McDonough + Partners, Co|Lab refused status quo at its inception. The first commercial cross-laminated timber structure in Virginia (and only the second in the DC area), each element of the building – from structure to finishes – was seen as a learning and testing opportunity. Designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, Co|Lab is also seeking the challenging ILFI Materials Petal. The aesthetic is remarkable, especially when standing in the dual height bays that will house exploratory projects and construction mock-ups.
Our initial goal was to use the building itself to embrace new materials, adopt non-traditional approaches, and test cutting-edge technology during construction. With the launch of Co|Lab, we now shift our focus to collaborating with industry partners and academia to advance smart building. The seven seed projects range widely in topic and include new technology for water intrusion, methods for biocontainment in healthcare, and a material study of self-growing brick.
We invite you to join us on this important journey – either virtually or by visiting Co|Lab – as together we are building change.