May 30, 2014

Office Space: 6 Workplaces Look to the Future

Gone are the days of beige cubicles and windowless offices. Around the globe, architects are designing new ways to create workplaces that are not only innovative and sustainable, but also help promote worker productivity. Because, let’s face it, in a world where we spend 50 plus hours a week at the office, it’s important that we at least enjoy our surroundings. Here are six developments that are doing just that and, in the process, reshaping the way we experience the daily grind.

1. Firm: OMA
Project: Axel Springer
Location: Berlin, Germany
Standout: Designed as an extension of the media company’s existing building nearby, the new structure will feature a 98-foot atrium and tiered levels that jut out to exterior terraces. Taking inspiration from the city’s history, the interiors were designed to follow the diagonal course of the fallen Berlin Wall.

2. Firm: NBBJ
Location: Seattle, Washington
Standout: Encapsulated inside three street-level “biodomes” (as well as several office towers), the campus in the city’s Denny Park neighborhood will contain plant- and tree-filled work and communal spaces that will help foster creativity and relaxation in the workplace.

3. Firm: Brick, LLP
Project: 899 West Evelyn
Location: Mountain View, California
Standout: Architects kept sustainability at the forefront when they designed this insulated-glass office structure. Three out of four of the building’s sides are glass, allowing natural light in, and the facility is located just steps from a major public transit hub. The cherry on top: a 12,000-square-foot rooftop garden.

4. Firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Project: One World Trade Center
Location: New York, New York
Standout: Reaching 104 stories and containing 3-million-square-feet of office space, this high-rise building has already changed the NYC skyline and currently stands as the fourth tallest skyscraper in the world. Keeping sustainability in mind, architects incorporated recycled materials like gypsum, while also integrating renewable energy and rainwater collection into the design.

5. Firm: Valerio Dewalt Train Associates
Project: Adobe 410 Townsend
Location: San Francisco, California
Standout: Housed inside a revamped four-story office building in the heart of the city, the software-manufacturer’s satellite office revolves around a central meeting space dubbed “Hipster,” where town-hall meetings, art openings, hack-a-thons, and other events take place.

6. Firm: Heneghan Peng
Project: AirBnb
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Standout: With a reception area modeled after an Irish pub, the UK office of this home rental website includes a series of workspaces inspired by homes listed on its site from around the world. Some of the wood-and-glass pods contain hinges and wheels, which can be detached and rolled apart for added flexibility.

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