Search Results for: office design

This week’s Insight is now available to view online

Living up to iconic office furnitureIn this week’s Insight, available to view online; signs that the recovering UK economy is putting pressure on the availability of both skilled employees and Grade A office space; the disparities that exist in flexible working arrangements across the country; and the Green Building Council criticises Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to slash 80,000 pages of environmental guidance. RICS publishes a report by Occupiers Journal on how to prove the value of FM to board level directors; Pam Loch provides some legal guidance on managing employees embroiled in an office romance and Mark Eltringham wonders when modern office furniture design will begin to live up to the iconic pieces of yesteryear [pictured]. To automatically receive our weekly newsletter, simply add your email address to the box on the home page.

Latest issue of Insight now available to view online

2.Insight_twitter_logo smThe latest issue of our weekly newsletter is now available to view online here. This week: Ilkka Kakko argues that designing for serendipity is about more than facilitating chance meetings; Mark Eltringham looks for the missing link between offices and avocados; we report on the ongoing recovery in the construction and property markets; raise questions about what happiness at work really means; and Sara Bean argues that we should never assume that working from home is the best way for an individual to work. If you don’t already subscribe, please do by adding your email in the box on the home page and we’ll make sure you see the freshest thinking on workplace design and management each week.

Land Securities to submit application for solution to Walkie Talkie solar glare problem

Walkie-Talkie solution

Land Securities has confirmed it will submit a planning application next month for the solution to the solar glare problem at the ‘Walkie Talkie.’ Last year the skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch EC3 was dubbed the ‘Walkie Scorchie’, after it was found its unusual design was reflecting and magnifying the sun’s rays, which were melting parts of vehicles parked in nearby streets. According to the developer, despite its problems, the building is now 64 per cent pre-let, with a further 23 per cent in solicitors’ hands, and just 42,700 sq feet of space remaining. Land Securities has also announced, that due to increased demand for London office space it is to launch two new central London developments.   More →

Plans submitted for 19 storey tower in Manchester business district

No 1 SpinningfieldDevelopers have submitted plans for the development of a new tower on the site of an existing office building in Manchester city centre. Allied London is looking to create a new 19 storey office in Spinningfields, the city’s troubled £1.5 billion business district which ran into development problems at the height of the recession between 2007 and 2010. The new building a will offer over 340,000 sq. ft. of office space and is designed by Ian Simpson Architects who were responsible for the design of the Beetham Tower. The ground floor is also likely to incorporate retail outlets, cafes and restaurants. A final decision on the application from the local authority is due in April. Quay House, the current building on the site, is argued by the developer to be under-occupied and outdated.

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New SkyCycle route proposed to ease Capital’s transport network congestion

SkycycleDemand for London-based workplaces is increasing, but the capital’s transport network is at capacity and ill equipped for a predicted population growth of 12 per cent over the next decade. Despite the Mayor’s efforts to encourage more cycling in the capital, a recent series of accidents has raised concerns about its safety. Architects Foster + Partners together with Exterior Architecture and urban planners Space Syntax have come up with a proposed solution, the SkyCycle network. This consists of a wide, secure deck constructed above the existing suburban railway corridors, to provide over 220 kilometres of safe, car free cycle routes which can be accessed at over 200 entrance points. Each route can accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour and will improve journey times by up to 29 minutes. More →

The most read stories on Insight in 2013

Apple 11It’s been one year since Insight first hit the digital streets and it’s been fascinating to see what people have been most interested in. One of the great things about online publishing is you cannot escape from what people think. Printed trade magazines can tell you they send out 12,000 copies or whatever, but they can’t tell you whether the recipients are interested enough to read them or share their contents. Online, that is all made transparent. So it’s been great to start a publication that after just a few months was demonstrably the UK’s most widely read title covering workplace design and management issues. We even know what people like the most. So here, in no particular order, are our most widely read stories from 2013, ranging from the technical to the esoteric, news stories, case studies, the bursting of bubbles and the challenges to received wisdom.

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Highest ever BREEAM outstanding score for PwC’s HQ refurbishment

PWC refurbishment wins highest every BREEAM

PwC’s nine-storey headquarters at One Embankment Place in London has surpassed all BREEAM scores to date for both new build and existing structures. The 450,000 sq ft commercial office building located at Charing Cross station in London has achieved a milestone 96.31 per cent BREEAM Outstanding score, including a 100 per cent score for materials, transport and management. Built in the early 1990s, the structure, which comprises a basement below the station and nine floors of office space above it, has had a complete office refit and refurbishment as well as full central plant replacement in the basement areas, roof and terraces. Achieving a high BREEAM rating and EPC score was a priority of the refit, which was achieved while some 2,000 staff remained in occupation. More →

One of the most important things we need at work is shelter from the storm

Shelter from the stormThe challenge of providing the optimum level of acoustic performance in an office is one of those issues that everybody accepts is very important, has at least some understanding of and has a degree of awareness of the solutions. Yet it has proved to be one of those intractable issues that suffers both from some important misperceptions and which also has to be balanced against other challenges when it comes to designing offices, not least the most significant trend of the past twenty or thirty years, namely the shift to open plan working. At the same time we have seen a shrinking of workstation footprints and the greater use of mobile phones and other technology. All of these changes have focussed attention on workplace acoustics – currently one of the most talked about issues in the workplace, and visual privacy – one of the least talked about.

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The future belongs to those who leave themselves choices of how to deal with it

unknown-futureEverybody likes to talk and read about the future. It’s one of the reasons we see so many reports about what the ‘office of the future’ will look like. Often these attempts at workplace prognosis are overwhelmingly  rooted in the present which might betray either a degree of timidity or lack of awareness of just how far along their standard list of trends we really are. Even when such reports appear to be bang on the money, they tend to disregard one of the most important factors we need to consider when trying to get a handle on the future, which is the need to leave ourselves choices. This is important because not only will the future be stranger than we think, but stranger than we can imagine, to paraphrase J B S Haldane.

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Control over their work space helps satisfy people’s basic emotional needs

Control over their work space helps satisfy people’s basic emotional needs


Control over their work space satisfies an individual's basic emotional needsIn the second of two pieces to mark the seventieth anniversary of Abraham Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ Annie Gurton writes: Workers need an element of control in their surroundings. As Maslow said in the 1940s, humans are fundamentally, simple creatures. We need air, water, food and security, but along with those basic physiological needs we have a set of emotional needs. If these are not met we do not die, but we become emotionally distressed. When it comes to designing office space, it is important that our basic emotional needs are met if we are to feel happy. Workers need to have privacy yet feel connected to others. They need to have a sense of community yet feel that they are respected.

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Quality of the place and the pace of work is more important than money

Aol’s new West Coast HQ 395 Page Mill

O+A designed Aol’s new West Coast HQ

In a remarkable session on the future of work at Worktech 13 London this week – Charles Handy declared that organisations need passion, people and profit, in that order. Money isn’t the main motivating factor for individuals either, which is why Handy’s thoughts on the emergence of the portfolio worker should inspire anyone who dreams of quitting their corporate job to do something more interesting instead. Those who don’t have that option would have been cheered to hear the prevailing message at Worktech was that employers are waking up to the fact that the quality of the place and the pace of work (i.e. flexible working) is of equal importance to remuneration in attracting and retaining staff. More →

2020 vision is a useless metaphor for far-sightedness in a number of ways

Looking in telescope wrong wayThe year 2020 is a mere seven years away. Yet the designers of the future workplace and those who invite them to talk about it are still referring to it as if it marks the next frontier of human endeavour and as if we weren’t already up to our collective armpits in the 21st century. The idea of 20/20 vision is considered, in ophthalmological circles at least, to represent “normal” visual acuity and is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain. In practical terms, this means it’s about seeing and interpreting what is directly in front of us at a distance of around 6 metres. So as a metaphor for farsightedness regarding the future of work or workplaces it’s always been a poor one. And as we get closer to the eponymous year, it becomes worse day by day.

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