Archives for the month of: august, 2013

Situated at Working at Offices

130828_Office of the FutureMy hypothesis is to improve the architectural process to develop great architectural office spaces for people, but what is a great architectural office space?

In my research in found the article “What Is the Office of the Furture?” that interviews different architects of today about tomorrow’s offices.

Overall they all say that the future office is open with small bokses for one-to-one meetings.

“…the next wave of offices is down to earth” and “…designed around employees’ needs and specific company culture.” (Bortolot 2013)

Barry Svigals of Svigals + Partners (New Haven, Conn)

Barry Svigals says that his “…architecture firm helps companies understand who they are and how to preserve that identity through effectively design space and use of resources.” (Bortolot 2013)

What his company does is deconstructing the relationships and reinvents them to develop the office of the future. The isolating office corner is no longer attractive, so the walls have come down and instead the must-have spaces are multipurpose spaces, which create conversation, cooperation and inspiration.

Brad Pease of Paladino (Seattle)

Open space and transparency cultivates open minds.

Reception areas and conference rooms: “We consider those things dead” (Bartolot 2013)

The new value is the access to ideas

The client has to see the value of the firm = See work in progress and people when arriving to the office

The reason for the changing from closed space to open space is also the feeling of walking into a space – do you feel that the office value the employees or not. If the space is open it shows that the office values the employees.

James G. Phillips of TPG Architecture (New York)

“…it’s [now] about people more than anything” (Bartolot 2013)

He also says that the offices have learned from the retail industry about handling clients and branding the office for the clients.

Janice Barnes of Perkins+Will (New York)

“It’s about how you give a consistent message to a client you want to attract and what you want to communicate to your employees” (Bartolot 2013)

Sustainable design and employee issues is a new trend

Many firms are already creating mindful environments

Tomas Bercy of Bercy Chen Studio (Austin)

Cost and flexibility is the most important for small businesses.

The future office is complete openness and one-to-one meeting spaces. There is no desk dedicated to one person but many stations where the employees can plug-in.

He also thinks that flexibility is a new kind of sustainability

Chris Bockstael of Svigals + Partners (New York)

The offices have to be designed to fit the up-and-coming Gen Y work force that is confident, connected and open to change. They want to enjoy the work environment – an environment that promotes collaboration

My comment:

I find these comments very interesting because I can see myself – as a Gen Y work force (born from 1978-1991 – I’m from 1986). Many of the employees I have spoken to is very afraid of open offices because of bad working environment in office domiciles built during the 90’s and the 00’s without consider the people working at the office. Noise is the worst part for employees. I find it very interesting to figure out, how the open office can be combined with noise-reduction, because I really agree in the open offices as a creative and social working environment.

I hope in my further research will figure out how to combine the open office with less noise. Maybe the word transparency is the key, but it has to be developed architectural so we do not get isolated offices with glass walls.


Situated at Working at Offices

130828_Dog lifeAn article from got my attention by the title “What Dogs Can Teach Us About Working More Effectively”.

The couple, Ellen and Patrick Galvin, has the firm Galvanizing Group, where they have learned how to work smarter by bringing their dog into the office every day.

1. Keep your eyes on the ball

Eliminate distractions such as e-mail and social media

Break work down into manageable chunks

2. Play should be a part of every day

Take a break = be recharged and with a clear mind

3. Show appreciation

Tell your colleagues if they have done something good – it extends the feeling to the clients

A handwritten thank-you card to clients = stand out from the crowd

4. Live in the present

Focus on the present – we attend to forget this and instead think of what could have happened and what might happen

Make daily tasks – what needs to be accomplished and prioritized

My comments:

I really like the idea of these 4 bullet points.

I think they are worth working with and I will try them during the next period.

  1. Open my e-mail 3 times a day: Arriving at the office, after lunch and one hour before closing-time
  2. 10 push-ups every hour
  3. Tell my colleagues that they are doing a good job every day
  4. Think of this a lot and then every Friday sum up on where to go to in the future
Situated at Architectural Process
Where are the Architectural Qualities in the Architectural Process?
Where are the Architectural Qualities in the Architectural Process?

In an article from “Lovgivning og arkitektonisk kvalitet”, Johan Fogh writes about an investigation among Danish people and their view on Danish architecture. He asked them to mention the names of great architectural buildings according to themselves, and not surprisingly all the buildings were built before 1955 with the exception of Høje Tåstrup railway station.  Johan Fogh thinks there are two problems in the architectural process today:

1)      A coordination explosion

2)      Too many quantitative legislations

Coordination explosion:

Monkey's Puzzle
Monkey’s Puzzle

There are too many people involved in the process and they all needs information and prove on their presence in the project.

The process of coordination takes over when the amount of people increases. Johan Fogh explains it by a mathematical equation in a visual “Monkey’s Puzzle”. A reason task is to put 3 x 3 = 9 pieces together, which indicates the complexity of coordination. In a mathematical equation there is 9 x 8 x 7 x … x 2 x 1 combinations. If we only increase the puzzle to 5 x 5 pieces, there would be 25 x 24 x … x 2 x 1 combinations, which is an enormously amount.

The complexity of many people in an architectural process can hereby become a coordination hell, but many architectural processes are like this today, which is why Johan Fogh calls it coordination explosion

Too many qualitative legislations:

130826_Architectural Quality_03

Architectural quality is an undefinable quality that relies to the totality – a holistic approach. This could be proportions, atmosphere and human scale. It is not possible to make a checklist on these parameters, which is why the legislations have made quantitative parameters that make architecture measurable. This could be ceiling height, distances and ventilation. The problem is that architects will make sure, that the building fulfills the quantitative parameters and do so without thinking about the holistic approach. The Johan Fogh thinks that the legislation phases out the architectural quality, and hereby creates a lack in the development of new architectural quality and new values in architecture.

My comment:

I agree with Johan Fogh. The lack of architectural quality in the upcoming buildings is the driver for my PhD project. I find it so sad that buildings do not appeal to the people working in, living in and passing by the buildings. It has been possible before, so why can we as architects not do it today?

I think Johan Fogh is correct in the thought of the coordination explosion. There are too many participants involved in the architectural process and the coordinators – if there are some of them – do not know how to take advantage of them. This is a part of the architectural process I will dig into in my PhD project.

Situated in 

A new tool in the architect’s toolbox

130826_Topology optimization

In the article from, Jens Fynbo argues that an IT-program can create an optimized process by handling topology optimization.

The idea comes from the engineering world, where an IT-program working with Finite Element Method (FEM) can be used to optimize a construction. FEM is overall having a structure, which is divided into infinite numbers of small elements. Every small element is described by an equation. Solving the different equations creates knowledge about the response of the structure by the specific force. The result is for instance where the material has to be situated to optimize the structure and the material use.

The idea is to use this way of thinking and add qualitative values to the FEM calculation and hereby optimize the architectural process.

The article does not give an answer on how to do it, but starts playing with the thought.

My comment:

The idea is fun and I will like to play with it.

Write now, I find it difficult to develop the qualitative values into quantitative parts that will give the possibility to make architecture be a part of the FEM IT-program, but maybe it is possible. Wright now CUNECO in Denmark is working on adding values to different rooms Maybe this is one way of developing qualitative values into quantitative values.

As an architect educated at Architecture and Design in Aalborg, design research and methodology is not a part of my primary knowledge, which made it totally new for me, to walk in to the World of PhD.

I have seached for knowledge within the field of Design Research or Architectural Research and found an article called “What is quality in Design Research” (“Hvad er kvalitet i designforskning”

The article is about a Research Meeting among Design Researchers in Denmark, where they discuss what Design Research is. They address, that to be a designer is not only about developing a form, but it is also about handling many overall issues such as: The socially and environmental context of design, users, problem solving on an abstract level etc., because design, today, is a part of an interdisciplinary an strategic process.

All these aspects and the desire for academizing the field of design make the Design Research bloom. But what are the criteria for Design Research?

Overall we need mutual standards combining all Research. In a book “Designerly Ways of Knowing” from 2006 by Nigel Cross, the five criterias for good research is:

1)    Purposive: There is a problem to be solved and that is worth solving

2)    Inquisitive: There has to be new knowledge

3)    Informed: With knowledge about previous knowledge in the specific field

4)    Methodical: Reached in a structured and disciplinary way

5)    Communicable: Results has to be available for every body

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) has made some common definitions on all research and categorises research in 3:

1)    Fundamental Research: To reach a new acknowledgement

2)    Applied Research: To reach new knowledge and insight

3)    Clinical/Experimental Research: Transform existing theory into new knowledge


They conclude that there is a need for developing new methodologies by interdisciplinary approaches. Julie Sommerlund mentions, that by creatively combining the traditional research areas “Terms, methods and methodologies” new inputs will be developed for the empiric based design research and the theoretical design research.

This Brainstorm shows what I right now find important for my PhD project

This Brainstorm shows what I right now find important for my PhD project