August 24, 2016
The enduring struggle to improve the working conditions and performance of people through the design and management of workplaces carries more than a whiff of the Enlightenment, a period in which pure reason was seen by its proponenst as more than enough to convince the world of the ways in which we could improve the human condition. It’s a battle that was won in some ways but which continues to endure to this day, as you can tell from the very existence of the latter day evangelists of reason such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Yet one of the issues with arguments based on pure reason is that they leave gaps regarding abstract notions such as love and beauty. When it comes to workplace design the idea of beauty seems pretty important. Yet the very notion that an attractive workplace will make people happier and more productive seems to assume that we can agree on what is attractive in the first place.
August 11, 2016
A new report from Allied Market Research claims that the worldwide market for Building Information Modelling will grow by over a fifth to hit $11.7 billion by 2022, driven primarily by legislation demanding that all construction work should apply BIM. The World Building Information Modelling (BIM) Market report, claims that its growth projections are based on increasing demand from the construction industry, in turn based on new government regulations mandating the use of BIM, a booming property sector in Asia and growing awareness of the benefits of BIM. Construction industries will continue to be the leading consumers of BIM, constituting nearly 63 percent of the global market by 2022. The report concludes that ‘BIM has emerged as an ideal alternative to traditional CAD software, owing to its suitability over a variety of operational issues such as cost management, handling raw data and information and alignment of processes’.
August 2, 2016
1 The next big thing in office design is not what you think but is certainly a sign of the times, according to a story in Inc; it is bullet proof office screens. 2 An exhibition in London offers up spectral images of abandoned buildings from the Soviet era. 3 We’ve been saying for a while that Millennials don’t exist as a separate species, but perhaps not as powerfully as Adam Conover does in this talk delivered, ironically, at a conference focused on marketing to Millennials 4 Maybe the UK Government has finally discovered that an awful lot of people live outside London as it announces the creation of three large civil service ‘hubs’ in Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester. 5 Philip Tidd of Gensler powerfully offers up an inconvenient truth for the UK workplace. 6 More evidence that the Brexit vote was largely a general protest vote rather than a specifically anti-EU vote from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing. 7 A letter to the FT from construction industry leaders urges the UK to maintain its role as a leader in tackling climate change.
July 30, 2016
In this week’s Newsletter; Mark Eltringham suggests reading the source material behind the latest sitting is the new smoking guff; and celebrates a new age of reason in workplace design. New evidence that giving employees more control over workplace design is the most important contributing factor to their wellbeing; businesses ready to embrace the workplace robot; and the UK economy still to address productivity and digital skills gaps. Third of parents struggle to find childcare across the summer holidays; retaining ‘passporting’ rights to the single market vital for the City during Brexit negotiations; rising over 50s population of workers suffer discrimination; and researchers confirm the imminent demise of the ‘nearly useless’ desk phone. Download our new Briefing, produced in partnership with Boss Design on the link between culture and workplace strategy and design; visit our new events page, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn Group to discuss these and other stories.
July 13, 2016
Gensler has announced the results of its Workplace Survey 2016 for both the UK and the US. Key claims of the UK report based on a study of 1,210 respondents include that the UK workforce seems to be divided into ‘haves and have-nots’, with mid and lower-tier workers confined to poor quality environments, 67 per cent of the workforce feel drained due to their office environment at the end of each day and that ‘innovators’ spend just 3.5 days of the working week in the office, highlighting the need for greater flexibility. Meanwhile, the key finding of the US study of 4,000 respondents is that a statistical link between the quality and functional make-up of the workplace and the level of innovation employees ascribe to their organisation, and found that a workplace that prioritises both individual and group work creates ‘an ecosystem of innovation’ across organisations and is a crucial predictor of how innovative an employee sees their company to be.
July 13, 2016
It was the Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa who described the door handle as ‘the handshake of the building’ in his book The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses. Buildings greet us in other ways too and we respond to those greetings in very human ways. So much so, in fact, that when we make decisions about the ways in which offices introduce themselves, we should take account of the psychological factors that can mean the difference between a successful or failed office design. For a start, first impressions count. According to researchers at the University of Ottawa, people make decisions about websites within a 20th of a second. That seems hasty, but the good news is that we take our time when we first meet other people. We make our mind up about them in one 10th of a second according to psychologists at Princeton. People also make similar snap decisions about a company based on its office design and especially its reception.
July 12, 2016
As we reported yesterday there are plans afoot to surround the ‘Walkie Talkie’ winner of last year’s Carbuncle Cup with other tall building. However for organisations interested in occupying a London skyscraper it’s worth noting that according to Colliers, businesses in London’s twenty tallest skyscrapers can expect to pay an extra £50 million under forthcoming major changes to business rates. In a data analysis published recently, Colliers has assessed the likely effects of forthcoming business rates changes – floor-by-floor – on the occupiers of London’s twenty tallest buildings. Overall, firms will need to cough up an extra £50m as business rates bills go from £194m to £243m over the next three years. And the infamous ‘Walkie Talkie’ at 20 Fenchurch Street, and now fully occupied – will see the largest increase with office occupiers and luxury rooftop restaurants faced with a business rates bill of over £19m by 2019, an increase of £5.1m compared with current levels.
July 11, 2016
The shortlist for the 2016 World Architecture Festival Awards has been published and features 343 projects from 58 countries and across 32 categories. The Festival takes place in Berlin this November, where the winners will be announced. Judges include include last year’s winner Ole Scheeren, David Chipperfield, Manuelle Gautrand, and Kai-Uwe Bergmann. The shortlisted candidates in the office category include the world’s first 3Dprinted office in Dubai and Dietrich | Untertrifaller’s Omicron Campus which incorporates luminous quiet-working pods. Notable UK entries include Make Architects’ Hiscox Building in York and the Collado Collins designed scheme for the redevelopment of a landmark building at 184 Shepherds Bush Road. The design maintains the architecture of the original building, formerly a motor service depot and car showroom owned by Citroen and adds three new floors for office use.
July 11, 2016
It was Frank Lloyd Wright who said ‘a doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines’. His words will be ringing in the ears of London planners who have decided they need to do something about the blight of Rafael Viñoly’s reviled Walkie Talkie building at 20 Fenchurch Street, according to an article in the Architect’s Journal. The building was last year’s Carbuncle Cup winner and has been held responsible for creating wind tunnels in the streets at its base and even frying people, shops and cars around it with reflected solar rays. Remarkably, the solution offered by planners appears to be to surround it with other tall buildings to hide it (while also creating new office space). Gwyn Richards, head of design for London, told the AJ: ‘One issue that has been brought to our attention is whether it would be preferable to have the Walkie Talkie effectively moved into the cluster so that it is less assertive. We are hearing from stakeholders saying that it would benefit the cluster to bring it into a tightly knitted group.’
July 11, 2016
According to a new survey from research firm Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), momentum is growing towards the universal implementation of Building Information Modelling across the construction industry worldwide, with the highest percentage of respondents claiming that it will be the future of the industry. In related news, the UK BIM Alliance will be launched in October and will take over from the UK BIM Task Group as the emphasis is now on making Building Information Modelling the standard approach to construction. The industry alliance has been set up to respond to the UK Government’s challenges in meeting Level 2 requirements. The group will be branded the UK BIM Alliance, and is planned to be officially launched this October. The challenge now faced is to transform from industry mobilisation for Level 2 to make BIM, the standard approach to construction for the entire UK Construction Industry.
June 29, 2016
Whatever your opinions on Brexit, there’s no doubt that it has created a range of frequently turbulent knock on effects in the workplace, commercial property, design and architecture sectors. We’ve shared some of the latest views on the next page to go with the initial reactions delivered by a still shell-shocked world that we published last Friday. One thing seems pretty clear is that for most firms, including those in the commercial property sector, there is no rush to judgement and most are prepared to continue business as usual while so much remains undecided. For the same reasons, the FT is reporting that some developers are putting projects on ice until they have more certainty and a report from researchers Green Street suggests that the eventual decision to leave the EU will result in a substantial fall in real estate values. Meanwhile, CIBSE is the latest organisation to calm fears about the impact of the UK leaving the EU.
June 27, 2016
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has announced the winners of its annual Tall Building Awards for 2016. The Awards are, judged by a panel of experts, primarily drawn from the property and architecture sectors. The CTBUH claims its awards provide ‘a more comprehensive and sophisticated view of these important structures, while advocating for improvements in every aspect of performance, including those that have the greatest positive impact on the individuals who use these buildings and the cities they inhabit.’ The best tall buildings have been announced for each of four regions: Americas, Asia & Australasia, Europe and Middle East & Africa. While the winners in the Middle East and US were both residential projects, the winners in Asia and Europe were both primarily office based or mixed use projects; the Shanghai Tower in Shanghai and The White Walls mixed-use building in Nicosia, Cyprus.