April 23, 2013
The architectural profession can’t rely on great design alone, but needs to be more business and client focused warns the Royal Institute of British Architects. According to RIBA’s 2012/13 Business Benchmarking Survey, 62 per cent of practices do not have a business plan and, of those that do, only 13 per cent plan beyond one year. Interestingly, the survey also finds that 50 per cent of the profession’s work is won as the result of a direct approach with no competitive process. RIBA President Angela Brady said: “One key element exposed in these latest results is the acute split in business management, profitability and specialisms between large and small practices on how to make the most of their own position in the market place. What is clear is that if growth is on the agenda for a practice, then simply being a great designer, or a good project runner, is unlikely to be enough.” more…
April 19, 2013
This week, with some fanfare and a modest splash on social media, CBRE, the Global real estate services provider launched The Workshop Idea. One of its stated aims is the revitalisation of our high streets and, with the introduction of local venues in a number of differing guises, an increase in the degree of choice and flexibility of places in which to work when not travelling into the office. A whitepaper is due out shortly and we will cover this specific initiative once that has been given the proper consideration and thoughtful analysis it deserves. However, it raises some initial thoughts on expectations, attitudes and behaviours that need to be overcome in the way we view our high streets and places of work and the degree to which those who provide services respond.
April 18, 2013
IT giant Cisco has opened a new regional headquarters in Singapore that features utilisation-based space allocation that for the first time allows all of its staff to work just about anywhere in the building, using whichever kind of mobile device they prefer. The move reflects the findings of Cisco’s recent report which revealed that growing numbers of workers prefer to use an iPad or iPhone rather than a PC. The new offices, located at UE Biz Hub, within the Changi Business Park in Singapore, brings together 1,000 employees from Cisco’s previous four offices around the island and has reduced around 40 per cent of the required workspace.
April 17, 2013
A prescient film when it comes to modern office life, the workplace depicted in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil is that particularly 1980s modish mish-mash of futuristic technology and grubby antique with more than a nod to the offices of the past, present and future. Nevertheless he was able to anticipate both the current obsession with shared desks, the battle for resources and space (above) and the fact that people will sometimes use technology to do anything other than work so long as the boss doesn’t notice (below). Even the exposed pipes that were once so daring can now seem a routine or even hackneyed element in an office design.
April 17, 2013
A new report from Jones Lang LaSalle into the property market in Abu Dhabi claims that although the Emirate is committed to investing in the development of new commercial property, there is already a serious oversupply of offices in the region. Vacancy rates already stand at over a third (37 per cent) with increases expected as new developments become available. Around 1 million sq. m. of new office space is set to be developed in Abu Dhabi between now and 2015, increasing the total commercial building stock by a quarter. The JLL report claims that this oversupply is suppressing rents. Grade A properties now yield about 40 per cent of what they did at their peak in the final quarter of 20008 while Grade B space also continues to see falls in its yield.
April 16, 2013
The Construction Industry Council’s (CIC) Zero Carbon Building (ZCB) in Hong Kong has been awarded Champion of the Innovation Award for the Engineering Industry 2012/2013 by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). The ZCB, which is the first of its kind in Hong Kong engineered by Arup won the construction category for its integrated innovations, tailored for the city’s sub-tropical climate. It is the first building in Hong Kong to actively feed electricity back to the grid and has BEAM Plus Platinum status – the highest rating for excellent building environmental performance.
April 12, 2013
More evidence stacks up about what motivates people, including in the workplace. One thing that all the research shows about how to help people feel good at work is that motivation is a complex issue. It is not about money or joy or fun or an easy life. The things that are important include the challenge of overcoming difficult problems, a sense of achievement and an understanding that the work they do is acknowledged and makes a genuine contribution. The one thing to avoid is futility and the thing to aim for is meaning even in small ways. All of this research challenges the assumption that people are essentially economic creatures and that we can make them feel better by making isolated changes to their working environment.
April 10, 2013
The April 10 edition of the Insight newsletter is now available to view online covering a range of themes from commercial property to ergonomics, human resources to workplace technology, office design to legislation, all done with the usual verve and willingness to tackle issues in a genuinely engaging and unique way. Office Insight is already the most widely read publication in the UK dedicated to workplace design and management with up to 1,000 unique readers daily. The online newsletter is available to read here and it’s quick and easy to subscribe through the main website if you don’t receive a copy already.
April 10, 2013
You can tell a lot about how we work by the things with which we choose to surround ourselves. That is why it always pays to keep an eye on the world’s major office products shows. So, while eyes are trained on Milan this week for the international furniture fair, John Sacks offers us a view from the world’s largest exhibition CIFF which took place late last month in Guangzhou. Ignore the show’s dreadful website, this was a vast and important exhibition which tells us much about in the world’s second largest economy. Over 900 companies exhibited at CIFF in a venue with over 210,000 sq. m. of floor space and more than 60,000 people were expected to visit. The report can be seen here.
April 9, 2013
In which Jack Lemmon exchanges the crushing uniformity of the open plan for a corner office as a reward for allowing senior managers to use his apartment as a venue for their infidelity. This is from 1960, the pre-cubicle, pre-VDU world of large ranks of serried workers in an open plan office with only the privileged few allowed any degree of privacy or the wherewithal to display status. many ways, the layout has much in common with the way many offices are designed now. Office design may have moved on in the past half century but some things are always with us.
April 8, 2013
There was a time, not so long ago, when nobody worried too much about the shape of the rooms that led off the corridors of power. But the pressure on UK finances has politicised the design of the UK’s public buildings. The latest example of this was the recent announcement in Parliament of a report that, amongst other things, called for a new approach in the way facilities are designed to deliver better services in a more cost effective way. The report Restarting Britain 2: Design and Public Services was the result of an eight-month investigation led by the Design Commission along with politicians, designers and civil servants.
April 5, 2013
The competition to design and build the future General Department of the Information System (GDIS), in Kuwait has been won by AGi architects, in collaboration with Bonyan Design. The aesthetics of the building, which will encompass a total gross area of 135,482 sqm is shaped by the superposition of two contrasting layers: a massive stone plinth at the lower level, and lighter glass structures on the upper floors. At ground floor level there will be a plaza conceived as an inner urban space that will be the core of flows and circulations and will provide access to all four departments included in the building more…
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