One of four winners nationally, Hickok Cole Architects presented its vision of the Office Building of the Future at NAIOP’s Development 2012 Conference.
Process: Our design process began with two questions: First, in today’s hyper-connected world, will there even be office buildings in the future; and second, what will shape and drive the design of the office of the future? The team worked from the smallest scale, the workstation, to the largest scale, the office market. We resolved to study office building design comprehensively and from the inside out. We explored new transit-oriented developments, issues of workplace design, energy efficiency, structural materials, construction techniques, leading edge technologies, demographics and a myriad of other issues, forces and market drivers.
What We Found and Why it Matters: Three critical issues emerged that we believed would drive the office of the future:
- Human Need
- Construction and Fabrication
The most striking design feature of the proposal is a highly sensitive building envelope that responds to the conditions of the environment. Harnessing new cross-disciplinary research on smart polymers, the team proposed an envelope consisting of two layers: the inner layer serves as the weather tight barrier while the outer layer adapts to ever changing sun conditions.
To arrive at the typical floor plan we worked in two ways: one strategy was to derive the ideal plan dimensions by exploring the modularity of furniture systems and work styles; the second strategy was to deconstruct a traditional center core floor plate and rearrange its parts, prioritizing natural light, flexibility, and column free space.
What’s Next?: The impact of this competition has been felt at many levels. The impact on the office was profound. The opportunity to look over the horizon, unfettered by the normal project restrictions energized the office. Suddenly everyone wanted to get involved. At the national level it has opened a dialogue in the real estate and architectural communities about what office buildings could and should be in the future. We presented our concepts at three different national real estate venues, to our developer clients regionally and continue to explore new technology and planning techniques to improve this exploration.
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