March 29, 2017
A new report from the Design Commission in partnership with the BRE Trust is the latest to outline how the design of the built environment influences the way people think and behave. The report has been published following an inquiry chaired by Baroness Whitaker and Professor Alan Penn, Dean of The Bartlett, University College London and is endorsed by Richard Rogers and Kevin McCloud. It calls on central and local government to escape their muddled thinking on the matter and instead create a policy framework that acknowledges the link between design and behaviour. It also suggests that more private sector organisations should wake up to the link and do more than merely comply with their legislative obligations.
March 24, 2017
A new guide for facilities management professionals working with clients on BIM construction projects has been issued by the BIFM (British Institute of Facilities Management). Employer’s Information Requirements is a practical 47-page document to support clients using BIM (Building Information Modelling) to advise clients on how to specify their exact requirements for the design and construction phase of a built asset through to its full life-time operation. The purpose of the EIR is to support both FM professionals and clients by providing a template which can be edited and amended by the client or facilities manager to meet individual requirements for the project. Its guidance follows the publication of BIFM’s Operational Readiness Guide For Facilities Managers published in April 2016. Since April 2016, construction projects commissioned by Central Government have been required to use BIM for their procurement and delivery.
March 16, 2017
The Construction Industry Council has published a new guide to creating an accessible and inclusive environment. The guide sets out six principles as suggested by the Office for Disability Issues to ‘guide, support and motivate’ industry professionals. The guide is an initiative that emerged from the Built Environment Professional Education Project – a government project that has been championed by CIC. The aim is to build on the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by helping to generate a change in the way skills related to inclusive design are taught in the UK. The aim is that all built environment professionals will receive mandatory, quality teaching about inclusive design so that they can help create inclusive building, places and spaces for future generations.
March 9, 2017
Google has revealed the latest designs for its new Mountain View office campus, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio, the partnership that is also collaborating on Google’s new London offices. This is the third iteration of the designs which will now be presented at a public hearing pending approval by Mountain View City Council. The designs of the purpose built office complex and campus maintain the tent like structures from previous ideas as well as a heavily landscaped environment. The public spaces, pavilions, cafes, research labs, event spaces will be at ground level with offices on a mezzanine level. The new design for the roof incorporates curved metal shapes in grey which will discourage birds from flying into the structure.
February 14, 2017
There is a typically telling and intelligent Pixar moment in the film A Bug’s Life in which an already well lubricated mosquito goes up to a bar and orders a ‘Bloody Mary, O Positive’. The barman plonks a droplet of blood down on the bar. The mosquito sinks his proboscis into it, sucks it down in one go and promptly falls over. The main point is that the mosquito doesn’t need a glass because that is for animals that have a problem with gravity. For insects the major force in their lives isn’t gravity at all, but surface tension. The cleverness of the illustrators lies in them seeing this from the perspective of an insect when most of us ignore this kind of thing because our day to day lives are completely dominated by the invisible forces that define not only how we function but the form of our bodies and how we look and behave. As the evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould put it, “we are prisoners of the perceptions of our size”.
January 23, 2017
Visitors to Barcelona may still see Jean Nouvel’s iconic, phallic Agbar Tower as a welcome sight on the city’s skyline, but the building is less loved by its owners and tenants according to a report in Spanish newspaper El Pais. Inaugurated in 2005, the 34-storey skyscraper has been sold twice in three years as tenants have vacated and plans drawn up to either refurbish it or turn it into a hotel. The latest plan from new owners Merlin Properties is to spend €13 million on a refurbishment that will include a multi-occupier space for companies working in Barcelona’s thriving tech sector, centred on the Innovation District that is home to the Torre Agbar. The refurb aims to deal with the most common complaints from previous tenants which, according to the report, include a dysfunctional doughnut shaped layout, poor sightlines, inappropriate location, small windows with no view, inadequate shutters and an unwillingness to work in a building with such an overwhelming brand identity. Image: Ralf Roletschek
December 26, 2016
The Winter 2016 issue of Work&Place is now available to view online. In this edition… Neil Usher, Workplace Director at Sky offers a first hand account of the story behind the firm’s remarkable new offices at the Osterley campus in London; Kate Langan explores some of the implications of the growing digitisation of the workplace; Jim Ware looks at how the challenge of creating effective meeting spaces is now a strategic concern; John Blackwell tries to make sense of falling productivity levels when we have all the tools and know how to increase it; David Woolf makes the case for designing better collaborative spaces; Mark Eltringham looks forward to an almost entirely unpredictable future for workplaces in the 21st Century; and Karen Plum and Andrew Mawson set out the factors that drive knowledge worker productivity. The PDF edition is available to view and download here. Or view online here.
November 21, 2016
According to the winning entries of the Tomorrow’s Workplace design competition from Staples Business Advantage and Metropolis magazine, in 2021 the workplace may include inflatable pods set up in urban parks, or young professionals working alongside active retirees in a setting that resembles a small town more than an office building. The contest was hosted by Staples Business Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, and architecture magazine Metropolis. “The massive corporate office tower, usually a glass box with central air pumped in, is turning into the dinosaur from the 20th century,” said Susan S. Szenasy, publisher and editor in chief, Metropolis. “Workplaces will become more multi-generational and multi-functional, fostering communities in the process. With the many changes in how and where we work, one thing is sure—today’s office is not your father’s or mother’s office.”
November 10, 2016
Features such as baristas, sky terraces and fine dining will continue a process of transformation at the workplaces of Australia’s leading law firms over the next few years, claims a study by Melbourne based architecture practice Bates Smart. The report claims that the legal workplaces of today are are already unrecognisable compared to what was considered typical yesterday, having more in common with a five star hotel than a traditional office. Bates Smart predicts an even greater shift towards flexibility, collaboration and hospitality from legal firms in the future with the publication of four key findings in its new whitepaper, The Legal Workplace 2020, The report analyses trends in over 135,000 sq. m. of legal practice workplaces and draws conclusions that are indicative of key trends for law firms and the wider market alike.
October 13, 2016
Think Tank New London Architecture (NLA) which creates a forum for debate on the built environment, has launched its findings and recommendations from its landmark WRK / LDN Insight study on work and workplaces in London. NLA calls on central government, the Mayor of London and other stakeholders in the capital to act to maintain the capital’s position as a preeminent commercial centre. The report claims that, as the digital economy continues to expand, new suppliers of workspace are rapidly emerging – from co-working providers to ‘fab labs’, makerspaces, incubators and innovation centres. The insight study concludes that the affordable business space that currently supports these industries is at risk. London needs new innovative mixed-use models of city planning to support these changes and adapt to the changing world of work.
October 6, 2016
Norwich’s The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia has been named as the Best of the Best workplace at the British Council for Offices’ (BCO) annual National Awards in London. The office was also recognised as the Best Corporate Workplace in the UK, joining a list of six other award winners recognised for excellence in office space. The BCO’s National Awards programme recognises top quality office design and functionality and sets the standard for excellence across the office sector in the UK. The University of East Anglia’s The Enterprise Centre was praised by judges for showcasing low carbon and sustainable design at its best. Judges commented that the workplace offered a wide range of highly flexible accommodation with incubation and collaborative spaces for new and developing businesses in a building equipped to deliver for the 21st century.
September 20, 2016
Despite substantial investment in new technology over recent years, the construction industry is struggling to realise the full benefits of key technologies including advanced data and analytics, mobility, automation and robotics. That’s the main finding from Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016, the annual state-of-the-industry report from KPMG International. Of the 200-plus senior construction executives who took part in the survey, just 8 percent of their companies rank as “cutting edge technology visionaries,” while 64 percent of contractors and 73 percent of project owners rank as “industry followers” or “behind the curve” when it comes to technology. Two-thirds of survey respondents believe project risks are increasing. According to Armstrong, this is an industry ripe for disruption, yet less than 20 percent of respondents say they are aggressively disrupting their business models.