Page B3.2 . 14 February 2001                     
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    QUIZ

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    Furnishing the Workplace

    (continued)

    Into the shell are placed a curtain wall system with doors and windows in panels of metal, brick, and/or wood. Modular partition systems form the interior spaces, which can be selected from a "menu" of offices, conference rooms, break rooms, switch/server rooms, sun porches, and even workout and locker rooms. Systems furniture is available to accommodate any of these functions.

    But Workstage doesn't stop there. The service/product also includes landscaping, complete with trees, parking, signage, and outdoor furniture. They can also provide indoor plants, music, artwork, even holiday decorations.

    A Built Example

    One of their first constructions, built in Grand Rapids, Michigan, features sky-lit barrel vaults, inspired by the forms and lightness of Louis Kahn's Kimball Art Museum and Albert Kahn's American factory buildings. The exposed steel structure is organized in 40 by 40-foot (12 by 12-meter) bays.

    The undulating roof is designed to create compartmentalization of space below while unifying the entire building under a single lightweight canopy. A double-height wood porch along the front elevation organizes multiple entry points along a gathering space while providing shade to the south elevation of the building.

    The Architect's Touch

    Another building type, designed by Gensler, features a sawtooth roof and an exposed steel frame that manipulate sunlight, introducing patterns of shade and shadow on a simple metal panels or precast facade.

    Gensler also created a kit of components, designed to work together, so that customers can configure a building to meet their unique needs. Each accessory is adaptable to the site and to user manipulation. The outcome is, as Workstage says, "an efficient working machine for the user."

    Another Workstage model is a multistory interpretation of Phifer's Modernist aesthetic, an assembly of prefabricated components supporting a just-in-time delivery schedule.

    It was designed to complement Steelcase's modular Pathways office systems, sharing attributes of flexibility, adaptability, and modularity of components. The self-sufficient modules of 35,000 square feet (3150 square meters) can be expanded into larger configurations.

    The repetitive nature of the design allows for scalability from three to ten stories. The skin is composed of a floor-to-floor glass and aluminum curtain wall system, with vertical sun shading on the east and west elevations, and horizontal sun shading on the south elevation.

    Other variations have been developed to emphasize unobstructed open floor plans or greater variation in skin materials.

    While the Workstage approach might be seen as a competitive with design firms, the company can be expected to employ design professionals in-house for project customization.

    Workstage will apparently serve as their own general contractor, but for building subcontractors, "partnering" with Workstage could be a new business opportunity.

    Will this be a successful approach for providing high-tech offices? If Workstage lives up to their corporate promise of optimizing user accommodation and design customization, they could set a trend that deserves serious attention from the industry.

     

    AW

    ArchWeek Photo

    Individual workstations are complete with furnishings, storage, communications connectivity, and HVAC controls.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    Gensler designed a "flexspace" building with an exposed steel structure and sawtooth roof.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    A Workstage model designed to complement Steelcase's modular Pathways office systems is a multistory interpretation of Phifer's Modernist aesthetic.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    A south-facing sun porch is an optional amenity.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    Modular systems create hallways within the large open space.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    The model designed by Integrated Architecture combines clear glass, translucent veils, and opaque planes to create a daylit interior that is shielded from direct sunlight but still offers views to the outside.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    Gensler designed an aluminum storefront wall system designed to accept a variety of infill sandwich panels.
    Photo: Workstage

    ArchWeek Photo

    In this variation, the building core is structurally separate, leaving the office floor plate open, without architectural impediments. Any interior configuration may be designed or modified within the building shell.
    Photo: Workstage

     

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