November 5, 2013
Greg Lindsay is a journalist and urbanist. He is a contributing writer for Fast Company and co-author of the international bestseller Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next as well as a visiting scholar at New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management, a senior fellow of the World Policy Institute, and a research affiliate of the New England Complex Systems Institute. He is also one of the main speakers at this year’s Worktech conference in London on 19 and 20 November. In this frank and enlightening interview he offers his thoughts on how firms can engineer serendipity into their workplaces and cultures and how the way we design offices is already taking clues from the way we plan urban environments.
November 5, 2013
The results of a competition designed to showcase the Workplace of the Future, sponsored by Staples have been announced. The contest, run in conjunction with US based Metropolis magazine, attracted entries from some 200 architects and interior designers. The winner was Joe Filippelli, who created Vertical Flux, which is described as ‘a comfort-based approach to the 2020 workplace with fluctuating atmospheres’. The runner-up was CoLab from Rotterdam based Eckhart Interior Design with a ‘digital re-envisioning of the classic corporate office… which incorporates technology in a way that allows employees to work at any location throughout the office, collaborating with co-workers in any imaginable configuration.’
October 30, 2013
In his lightning summary of five decades of the office at Workplace Trends 2013: Making it Work, which took place last week, architect Frank Duffy remarked on the challenge of justifying place in an increasingly virtual world. It’s never been easy to gauge the productivity of offices and knowledge workers – a conundrum the conference returned to throughout the day. Tim Oldman from the Leeman Index, which has gone some way to measure workplace effectiveness, revealed that only 53 per cent of 42,677 workers questioned had agreed their workplace enables them to work productively. Yet despite this, as most of the sessions of the day confirmed, the office is far from obsolete, and as a place for workers to congregate and collaborate, it remains king. more…
October 25, 2013
The finest closing sentence of any novel in my opinion is that in The Great Gatsby. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” It is a reference to the futility of our attempts to escape the past, even as we look to the future, dreaming of how “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther”. F Scott Fitzgerald was referring to people when he wrote it, and Jay Gatsby in particular, but it’s a passage that resonates in a number of ways, especially in those areas of our lives that deal most intimately with what it means to be human. And one of these is self-evidently the workplace, where any articular attempt to define the ideal office for a particular time, including the future, is complicated by the fact that we must always meet the needs of the beasts that inhabit it. Regardless of the tools we have at our disposal with which to work more effectively, or just plain ‘more’ we remain fundamentally the same animals we were thousands of years ago.
October 25, 2013
There has always been a link of one sort or another between the labour market and office design. So, as the UK’s unemployment statistics continue to fall, they remain moderately high and there continue to be structural changes in the nature of work, typified by this year’s debate about the growing use of zero hours contracts. You have to wonder what impact structural changes, levels of unemployment and redundancy (around 4 million in the UK since 2008) have had on the way we manage and design our workplaces. There is no doubt that the downturn combined with the structural changes in the way we work have had an effect on demand for commercial property, but what will it all mean in the longer term?
October 22, 2013
Social media is inarguably closing the gap between organisations and consumers of their services. Advances in the way we interrogate the opinions of building users are lifting the veil on some sharp practices in management and the negative impacts of poorly thought out design or badly executed installation of designs into the built environment. The positive impacts of this new, more open world are evident in changing attitudes to mental health and other wellness issues that affect us in the workplace. And it is becoming ever more evident in the response to a clear disconnect between what happens inside the designer or architect’s MacBook and its effect on the physical spaces with, and within which, we interact.
October 14, 2013
The firm of architects chosen for Google’s enormous new North London headquarters project as well as the redevelopment of the BBC’s Television Centre has been chosen to design the new home of the Metropolitan Police in Whitehall. The decision to award the job to Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) was announced by the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) is selling New Scotland Yard, and moving to modern offices at the iconic Curtis Green building on the Victoria Embankment in 2015. This new building will then revert to being called Scotland Yard.
October 4, 2013
The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has published a guide on how to make the most of the energy reduction opportunities that arise during refurbishment projects. The document, called Refurbishment of non-domestic buildings, is available in print (£60) and online (£55). CIBSE president George Adams claims: “Making the current building stock consume significantly less energy contributes to our cities in the future to reduce their heat islands, lower carbon foot prints and lessen the demand on already stretched energy infrastructures. Cities are key to the world’s energy problems and therefore the buildings within should strive through continuous improvement to be as energy efficient as possible and this new guide will assist in this huge challenge.”
October 2, 2013
A refurbished building which houses the manufacturer of the hi-tec GoreTex fabric range has been named the best of the best workplace in the British Council of Offices (BCO) annual awards. W. L. Gore’s Edinburgh headquarters was recognised for its transformation from a building which was no longer fit for purpose to a modern, green and inspirational workplace. National winners in the BCO 2013 awards include the Crystal in London for innovation; Birmingham City Council offices for fit out of workplace; Cannon Place in London for refurbished workplace; and Astellas in Chertsey and Nestle Product Technology Centre in York for projects up to 2,000m²
September 28, 2013
Multinational fit-out and construction firm ISG has won a contract for the fit-out of clothing retailer Arcadia’s UK headquarters near Oxford Street in London and is believed to have won a £50 million contract to fit out the ‘Baby Shard’ at London Bridge for Rupert Murdoch’s News UK. The £32 million Arcadia project for the reinvention of Colegreave House, designed by Sheppard Robson, involves the fit-out of four storeys and 155,000 sq. ft. of the existing building. Staff at the firm responsible for High Street brands such as Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop and Burton will remain in situ for the duration of the phased project which includes the installation of glazed roofs over the atria at the heart of the building to provide new community areas for staff.
September 27, 2013
Has there ever been a UK government more interested in the workplace than this one? Most of it has been about cutting costs of course, so the majority of announcements emanating from the Cabinet Office have been about procurement, design and environmental performance. David Cameron even at one point announced that he wanted to measure people’s happiness. The questions needed to work out how happy we are proposed by the Office for National Statistics as a result would have had a very familiar feel for anybody who has ever completed a workplace satisfaction survey even if they miss the most blindingly obvious point that when you’re skint and in mortal fear of losing your job, most other things about work lose their lustre.
September 24, 2013
One of the most common reasons for large organisations to move to new offices is a consolidation of an extensive and disparate estate that has developed over a long period of time. But what happens when the benefits of the move are scuppered because the organisation finds it impossible to get rid of its old buildings? That is the question facing Newham Borough Council as it emerges that it may have to quit the controversially swanky £110 million offices it moved to in 2010 and back into some of the 26 properties it left at the time and has struggled to unburden itself of since.
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