From assigned cubicles to open plan coworks, workspaces have been transforming their design strategies following society’s changing lifestyles. While traditional layouts encouraged more independent work (avoiding social distractions), adjusting to new technologies and ways of thinking has enhanced productivity while respecting communication, wellness consciousness and the benefits of feeling comfortable at work.
Architects have followed these changing trends, proposing diverse workspace typologies, adapting to multiple working styles, and organizing them to create optimal productive spaces. Among them, Spanish women-led architecture offices from different backgrounds and styles stand out for introducing layouts that redefine what is commonly known as a workspace. Below we present a selection of innovative refurbishment projects, all of which showcase flexible and dynamic workspace design.
After two weeks of voting in our 14th edition of the Building of the Year Awards, our readers have narrowed down over 4,500 projects to just 75 finalists across 15 categories, casting over 100,000 votes. This year's awards celebrate the very best in design, innovation, and sustainability from around the globe, with the shortlist featuring an exceptional range of projects, from a house in a favela to cutting-edge cultural centers and innovative public spaces that are sure to impress. As a crowdsourced award, we are proud to say that your selections are a true reflection of the state of architecture, and this year's finalists are no exception.
Many associate bathrooms with small, simple and practical rooms with no defining design characteristics. Historically, they have been conceived as merely functional environments strictly programmed for hygiene, privacy and ease of maintenance –often with no room for creativity. But as lifestyle changes have placed health and wellness as a top priority, contemporary bathroom design has been reimagined accordingly, shifting towards spacious personal retreats intended for comfort, relaxation and recuperation; an escape from a chaotic outside world. Because we tend to spend most of our time inside the home, many recent discussions naturally revolve around residential bathrooms, overlooking another setting where we also spend a significant number of hours in (around one third of our lives to be exact): the workplace.
As the post-pandemic generation of the workplace takes shape, office comfort is fast becoming its main selling point. But that can’t just mean big, comfy ‘working’ sofas and a few scatter cushions. With the hybrid options of home, office, or third space on the table, the majority of employees still choose to spend a large proportion of their working time together, benefitting from the community feeling and creative atmosphere, but most of all the professional working environment and interior. So while comfortably cozy spaces help them feel at home, the traditional set-up with individual desks and chairs for quiet focus, can’t be underestimated
With rising rental rates and major firms already in the process of downsizing to survive the digital work era, only flexibly and adaptably designed workplaces can provide both comfortable and focused typologies.
Designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, CapitaSpring is Singapore’s latest addition to its skyline. Recently completed after four years of construction, the 280-meter-tall high-rise oasis, considered among the city’s tallest structures, is a mixed-use high-rise with abundant sky gardens and rooftop park, office space, a serviced residence, a hawker center, restaurants, and public spaces.
The biophilic skyscraper, aligned with “the city’s pioneering vertical urbanism” and Singapore’s reputation as a garden city, is located at the heart of the financial district on the site of a former public car park and a hawker center. Comprising 80,000 plants, translating to a total landscaped area of more than 140% of its site area, the tower puts in place a “new green breathing space in the high-density CBD for the neighboring tenants and passersby”.
Biophilic design is capable of improving the well-being of those who use a space through reconnection with nature. When this practice is implemented in offices and workshops, this property translates into many benefits. After all, in addition to the emotional qualities that vegetation can bring, it has the ability to filter noise, lighting and allow for a milder climate, with results in team productivity and more optimized services.
Even before we got used to remote work, some offices were already concerned about the well-being of their teams and how to attract new talent to work in their physical spaces. In this context, the decompression rooms had already become fundamental parts of the architectural program to demonstrate that the company is concerned with encouraging people to live together, relieving everyday pressure and bringing moments of pleasure during the workday. Currently, when many have already returned to the offices, environments like this have become increasingly essential to ensure the well-being of the employee, as well as improve their performance.
It is nearly impossible nowadays not to present accompanying renders when proposing a new project. No matter the method, software or style that is used, it is a valuable reference that bares more practical weight than one might think. Not only can it be one of the closest possible representations of the architect's vision, if approved, it can also become a promise to clients, investors, and the general public.
When it comes to works from renowned architects, the render becomes a critical reference to the project participants and to the expectant community. A lot of details can be developed and considered when creating the images. In most cases, special attention is brought to the lighting, materials, and context in order to make the most accurate representation possible.
Office repositioning is one of the biggest struggles global businesses face today. This stands true for both: architecture businesses and the clients you’re servicing with your design solutions. In the last 18 months there have been enormous transformations within the AEC industry and arguably across most industries, many of which have influenced and shaped business decisions made during the pandemic. You could say the pandemic has only sought to accelerate some of the transformation we had started to see. The biggest and most notable is in the area of communication and connectivity. Staying connected and providing employees with the tools and platforms they need to collaborate, innovate and stay productive has been at the forefront for all companies.
As the discourse about the way we work continues past the original pandemic concern and past the hybrid, remote, or what was once called traditional office space; employers and employees alike are still revisiting mental comfort requirements of a post-pandemic worker. While there are many types of work environments and worker needs that have to be addressed separately (besides the white-collar or knowledge worker), from a design and policies front; one particular, newborn model has been popping up in recent years, thus far seen through some unique, smallscale yet norm challenging Japanese offices.
Circulation spaces are often challenging for designers as they are intended—as the name implies—for moving from one room to another. While many take advantage of these areas by using them as storage spaces, Mies van der Rohe at the Farnsworth house reduced circulation to a minimum, creating an open floor plan completely free of hallways. When faced with vertical circulation, the issue is similar. Stairs fulfill the purpose of overcoming the height between one floor and another, but rarely constitute indoor living spaces. Bleachers, in turn, play this role in several projects. Until recently, they were only found in sports spaces or amphitheaters; now the use of bleachers has become widespread and is seen in office spaces, public buildings, schools and even homes.
Lebanon is known for its millenary culture, and Lebanese architects are a part of it, using their projects to communicate with the environment and with the current challenges in architecture. To celebrate Lebanon’s Independence Day on 22 November, we have selected seven offices to learn more about contemporary Lebanese architecture.
The built environment of Far East Asia is challenging the paradigm through urban developments that are centered around principles of sustainability, community, and user-centric design. Following concerns of high-density neighborhoods and compromised landscapes, architects of that region became aware that building for the future means changing their outlook on financially-driven projects with unsustainable strategies, and replacing them with structures that put the user and the environment at the forefront.
From an all-around panoramic hotel on The Philippines's waterfront to an emotion-provoking memorial inspired by the rain in South Korea, this round up of unbuilt projects showcases how architects merged the Far East's culture, history, and unique geography with contemporary designs, creating state-of-the-art architecture. This round up also includes projects from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Hong Kong.
Only 18 months ago, everyone around the globe had their life upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost immediately, architects and designers began to speculate on how they could design for a better world that would be flexible, functional, and healthy. While the pandemic is far from over, with many scientific advancements and public health policies still needed to truly allow us to live out our “new normal”, perhaps its time to reflect on our predictions and examine what aspects of the pandemic were short-term reactions, and which aspects of life might be permanently reflected in how we think about the built environment.
It is safe to say that living in large urban areas, most of the sounds surrounding us are accidental, and most of them are not very pleasant. According to Julian Treasure, chairman of The Sound Agency, sounds can affect us in many ways: physiologically, psychologically, cognitively, and behaviorally, reducing productivity in workspaces and even affecting sales in retail stores. Therefore, paying attention to acoustic comfort in the built environment is imperative, not only for engineers and consultants but also for architects.
The Coronavirus pandemic demanded new needs and significant changes in our lives: in relationships, at work, in consumption habits, in increasing inequality. Indeed, the theme of workspaces came up in a historical moment when people saw their own freedoms limited for the first time in the postmodern era.
Most people were forced to work from home, and since the beginning of quarantine, reflection on the future of workspaces has become inevitable. Some interesting data show that the Coronavirus only boosted a practice that had been consolidating for years in some countries. According to the Global Workplace Analytics e FlexJobs, between 2005 and 2015, the number of professionals in the United States who do at least 50% of their work from home or elsewhere outside their offices grew by 115%, and today that number reaches 4.7 million, 3.4% of the strength of the job.
More than a year into this worldwide experiment of working from home, we have not yet landed on the perfect formula for the workforce being once again in the workspace. Furthermore, not only has the Working From Home (WFH) situation lasted longer than anticipated, it has embedded itself into the way we will work forevermore. As vaccines are rolled out, leaders of all types of organizations must now seriously consider how to handle the return of their employees to the physical office space.