Page N2.2 . 22 August 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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  • Architects Seek Diversity
  • Future Workplace on Exhibit
  • Mies, Classical Modernist

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    Future Workplace on Exhibit


    As an educational resource, Future@Work also includes a gallery housing a rotating display of new approaches and products that affect workplace design and construction, office furniture, communication tools, and workplace sociology issues.

    A Brief Tour

    The exhibit's central message identifies sustainability of business and people as well as the environment as the key to future prosperity.

    This is embodied in: lighting that enhances productivity and comfort while reducing energy consumption, materials that incorporate recycled products while reducing workers' exposure to chemical compounds, an HVAC system that improves air quality, and flexible space design that simplifies change over time.

    At the center of the exhibit is the "club." Designed to encourage worker interaction through the use of customizable, flexible furnishings, the "club" demonstrates an informal alternative to a traditional conference room.

    "Our research showed us that simple things like using lounge furniture, rather than a standard conference table and chairs, causes people to lower their guard and share more," explains Scott Harrison, president of BarclayDean, a consortium member.

    The "immersion space" reinvents the 1990s "war room" with a shift away from attacking problems to understanding and altering them. This space and its adjacent breakout areas support group thinking, active transformation, distance communication tools, and a casual attitude that comes from the absence of fixed-wall barriers.

    Instead of walls, the space is surrounded by a system of presentation panels that move on a circular track and double as temporary room dividers.

    The Office Habitats

    Focused, incremental investment is a key concept for the three hard-wall spaces: the "dorm," the "harbor," and the "study." Although all three are the same size, each represents a different attitude toward private office space.

    "The point is to analyze what's most important in a company's current life cycle," said Vanecko. "Smart investments are flexible and functional enough to move with you over time, or alternatively, to be resalable."

    The "dorm" is planned around the requirements of a start-up business that needs to reinvest its cash into core operations. It emphasizes the basics: ergonomics, storage, and furniture that supports intensely focused activities.

    The "harbor" is created for a company that is growing. The focus is on efficient use of space and products, and support of both individual and group work. The "study" is the habitat of a mature company that wants to express status and allow for customization.

    The "hive" represents typical open office space. Located between the growth and mature habitats, it illustrates how growing companies can migrate to more fluid, adaptable, and cost-effective workplace configurations while accommodating mobility and alternative work styles. Apparent here are the reuse of furnishings, power/data flexibility, user control technology, and personalization. The hive demonstrates low-profile raised flooring used to wire an existing tenant space.

    Nonterritorial Venues

    The "media lounge" and "den" are informal, user-configured spaces designed to support choice in working style; tools focus on access to information and communication. In the "den," a daylight shelf demonstrates an under-used, inexpensive way of extending daylight penetration into an office interior.

    The "east/west" areas illustrate ways in which companies can experiment with different settings to support diverse working styles. The "serenity" room offers workers an escape from technology and group activities; its quiet, contemplative design aesthetic expresses an attitude of nurturing and balance while still providing data/power access. These spaces demonstrate a low-cost way for businesses to better accommodate workers' psychological needs.

    For more information, visit the Future@Work Web site or schedule an appointment at the exhibit with building design and energy experts from Future@Work, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, and Seattle City Light by calling USA 206-484-4004.



    ArchWeek Photo

    The "immersion space" is a flexible area designed to support a variety of group activities from brainstorming sessions to formal meetings. It features flexible lighting, drapes, and movable panels.
    Photo: Chris Eden

    ArchWeek Photo

    The "immersion space" reconfigured for a more intimate use.
    Photo: Chris Eden

    ArchWeek Photo

    In the "immersion space," a multipurpose panel system can serve as decoration, tackboard space, or room dividers.
    Photo: Chris Eden

    ArchWeek Photo

    The "media lounge" brings high-tech tools into worker areas through data/telecommunications systems, video conferencing, and other audio/visual resources.
    Photo: Chris Eden


    Click on thumbnail images
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