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Data Driven Design: The Latest Architecture and News

WeWork is Transforming the Way Architects Use Data in Design

Courtesy of WeWork via Metropolis Magazine
Courtesy of WeWork via Metropolis Magazine

Data-driven design has been a holy phrase in architecture for some time now. The ability to refine and apply information on any range of topics, from movement to sun paths to air quality, hold enormous potential to positively impact design not just for one party but for all. Decisions can be made faster, buildings can be built better, inhabitants can be made more comfortable.

Firms Like Zaha Hadid Architects Are Revolutionizing Office Design Using Big Data

This article was originially published by Metropolis Magazine as "Architects, Armed with Data, Are Seeing the Workplace Like Never Before."

A workplace that improves employee productivity and efficiency has been a white whale of corporate managers for decades. But even before the office as we know it today was born, designers and innovators were already studying sites of labor, such as the factory, to devise strategies to boost worker performance. By the 1960s, Robert Propst, the inventor behind Herman Miller’s Action Office line of workplace furniture, and others were conducting workspace research that would ultimately lead to the creation of the modern cubicle.

These developments relied largely on observation and intuition to organize office workers in purportedly effective ways. Now, advances in technology allow designers to take a more sophisticated approach, using sensors, internet-connected furniture and fixtures, and data analytics to study offices in real time. “You can take into account every single employee, and people are very different,” says London architect Uli Blum. “It’s about solving the fundamental problems of getting people the environment they need. And the easiest way is to ask them,” he adds. But finding out the needs of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of workers can quickly become an exercise in futility.

How Microsoft Is Making Data-Driven Decisions to Craft its New Workplace Design Language

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Big Ideas Behind Microsoft’s New 'Design Language.'"

Microsoft is undertaking an ambitious overhaul of its 800 offices around the world and uncovering great insights about the intersections of technology and workplace design in the process. The technology giant’s global director of workplace strategies, Riku Pentikäinen, speaks to Metropolis’s Avinash Rajagopal about the company’s new workplaces, collaborating with designers and furniture manufacturers, and how his team takes a data-driven approach to office design.

The design of Microsoft’s 106,000-square-foot London office (pictured) and the flagship Milan office was informed by a new tool called space-utilization technology. Using data points collected over 180 days through Wi-Fi, Microsoft can now analyze how people use its office spaces. Image © Hufton + CrowIn Microsoft's Milan office, designed by DEGW in Herzog & de Meuron’s Feltrinelli building, space-utilization technology was applied to optimize the square footage. Image Courtesy of MicrosoftNowhere is this better exemplified than in two conference rooms tucked among the fir trees. The log-cabin aesthetic notwithstanding, both are fully equipped with Wi-Fi. Image Courtesy of MicrosoftThe landscape design was optimized to invite people to step outside, while a series of decks, plazas, and play areas—fitted out with colorful furniture from Loll Designs and Blu Dot, among others—allows them to socialize or work together with equal ease. Image © Aaron Locke+ 11