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Outside the box - The recent revolution of the workspace

Gilad Granot

Outside the box - The recent revolution of the workspace.

Rel. Guido Montanari, Matthias von Ballestram. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2015


Through my eyes, now more than ever, what we do is what defines us. There is no greater achievement than a man's life work. In many of these cases, these various human achievements are, still today, entirely thought, realized and made the impact, between four walls, in one singular space. That space in which we spend the largest portion of our lives, more than half of our life's expectancy, is crucial for our growth and development, our evolution. The workspace evolved through times, appeared in any variations, shaped and forms, taking many different rolls for many different individuals and professions that thanks to its essence, contributed and later on, shaped human society.

In modern times, thousands of years from the appearance of the first working spaces, there is no wonder that the strongest player, the corporate, controlling the largest portions of workforce and land, Data information and power, put in their first interest priority the around the employee, for it is he to take to the company, society and then the world we live in to a new and a better place.

Through the last centuries the workspace has continuously shifted towards ever more dominant and central role in our lives, re-modelling the how, where and when we spend our lives.

How to create workspace of productivity alongside creativity? Can innovative workspaces that integrates between technological innovation and human culture and interaction? Does a perfect workspace exists?

The never-stopping revolutionary progress of the digital era, job diversification, and ever increased demands placed on office buildings in terms of their configuration and technology, have all significantly altered the task of office construction in the course of the last decades. An added driving force behind this sea change is the gradual abandonment of large capacity company offices and the scores of post-war office buildings in sore need of renovation.

In times of conflicts and disagreements, money seems to be the last of common languages. It is no secret that the world is falling, whether by choice of obligation, slowly but surely, under the captivity of the Monetary Capitalistic System.

At this vicious circle of Supply VS Demand, the irreversible force that carried us all its wings. We have gone over the Turning back Point many years ago. Therefore, let us make no mistake, underestimate or assume that this process is a casual event, random, for it is the strongest force and man possess since the Agricultural Revolution to the current century.

Inside and out, layer by layer, component by component, considering such forces in play, through my thesis, Outside the box: The recent Evolution of the workspace, I will explore, confront investigate and integrate the themes regarding the design of the workspace, dating back its origins in Mesopotamia, to current day, at the turn of the 21st century, and the virtual future of the workspace.

The historical research conducted plays a part as a preliminary chapter to my Intervention through the realization of all the information acquired. Englobing all the elements into one singular project, the second chapter of my thesis will engage through design and planning of headquarters offices for a big data corporation company.

During the Second chapter I will explore, present, review, and critic the existing proposal of the development of Europacity proposal, an urban development in a relatively crude phase. Integrating my proposed modifications, reasoned by design and theory core concept and guidelines, to a final outcome: a workspace for 21st Century in a European promising capital, Berlin.

My will to intervene in an actual proposal that is in phases of execution allows me to integrate real time Architectural solutions to real time existing problems. The relevance and realism of the intervention is what grants me the possibility to realize studied theories and experiment tem in a current-to-future society and city. The selected intervention project, from vicinity to the main train station and the diversified agglomeration between ex industrial-academy-culture-residential-commercial, presents a highly complexed project as a whole. For its large scale, I will able to experiment with modular architecture and innovation, for favoring its users and above all, smart managing itself, for further future developments.

The experimentation through the second chapter will allow me to determine if the design intervention will improve the final quality of the overall project, with a particular emphasis of the workspace and the interaction with the urban context?

Germany had always been, especially during the last century, by far the most effected out of all

European countries, losing in the span of time of forty years two world wars. For the outcomes of the Second World War, going through social-economic-architectonic changes, traces are seen until today in various parts of the country. It is a country that was divided in two, led to a unique situation in which two simultaneous time lines moved alongside in parallel, but never meeting, East and West.

As an Israeli, I am no stranger to the great importance of parallel developments, and furthermore, the enormous potential in collaboration, once unified by lands, ideas and commune human prosperity.

There, in the middle of this fracture there it was; Berlin. When the wall fell, on November of 1989, an undeclared shot for the race had been shot. A race of patching, healing, and commune growing of a city that could be no longer divided.

At the turn of the 1990's large portions of land were annexed to the newly united Germany. Berlin, following the falling of the wall, was the main benefiter out of all German cities, for the land annexed formed the city center. With outstanding working ethics, professional collaboration and team-work, social and technological possibilities, the city of Berlin engaged with full thrust towards modernism, after years of rapture by Communism. Dew to the fact that berlin was, and still is, a poor city, many foreign investments immediately showed great interest. Inevitably, the following years large scale interventions took place, some successful, such as Potsdamer Platz1, renewing commercial complexes and urban planning along the traces of the wall, led by collaboration of many international architects. Surprisingly, for many others, perhaps majority, the development is perceived through the eyes of Berliners, a continuous failure to understand the location of corporate complexes inside the urban texture. These interventions were executed wrongly in public opinion, the most important defying factor in the city of Berlin; The power of elector's votes. (For example; in the selected project, Europacity, while residential developments are directly in closer vicinity to the water canal, favoring natural resources and the prestige of the area, the 'less desired' area designated for commercial and office buildings). The control of the citizens dew to the transparency from the administrative side leads to an agreed upon approach and development between city users, investors and municipality. It is by no doubt strongest shifting power of the city (almost a utopic state in which a city is actually led by its voters and residents)

Nowadays, it has been stated again and again that Berlin today, is perhaps the most promising out of all European cities, investing in residential development, low cost of living, culture, alongside a remarkable infrastructure and urban planning development while leading innovative urban technological mentality. I find the mixture between a social approach and a development driven by capitalistic power, the most impressive, innovative and promising model out of all presented today in the market. For all these reasons, aside my admiration and inspiration for German Architecture, I chose to integrate my project in Berlin, the next promising metropolis of the 21st century.

Relators: Guido Montanari, Matthias von Ballestram
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AO Design
U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4099

Table of Contents


Chapter I: Historical research

1.1 A place embedded in human history: The early origins of the office

Case studies:

- Forum Romano, various architects, 8th Century BC, Rome, Italy.

- Galleria Uffici, Vasari, 1511-1574, Florence, Italy.

1.2 The birth of corporations: The 18th century Across Europe, Asia and the Great ocean paths

Case studies:

- Old Admlrality Building, Cockerell, 1786-88, London, England.

- East India House, Jacobsen, Holland and Jupp, 1796-1800, London, England.

1.3 Urbanism, White collarand leaving ground floor: Industrialism, the School of Chicago and New

York. An age of innovation

Case studies:

- Home Insurance Company Building, Le Baron Jenney, 1885, Chicago, USA.

- Tacoma Building, Holabird & Roche, 1889, Chicago, USA.

- Flatiron Building, Daniel Burnham, 1901-1902, New York, USA.

1.4 Taylor's century: The first half of the 20th century. From Fordism to the New York skyscrapers capitalism; The North American Approach

Case studies:

- Larkin Building, Wright, 1904-1906, Buffalo, USA.

- Woolworth Building, Gilbert, 1910-1913, New York, USA.

- Empire state Building, Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, 1929-1931, New York, USA.

- Johnson wax Building, Wright, 1936-1939, Racine, USA.

- Seagram Building, Van der Rohe Johnson, 1958, New York, USA.

- Ford Foundations Headquarters, Roche, 1966-1967, New York, USA.

1.5 Alternative thinking: Post Second World War: Burolandschaft and the Northern European Approach

Case studies:

- Ninoflax, Quickborner Office, 1962, Nordhorn, Germany.

- ORSAM Headquarters, Quickborner Office, 1962, Munich, Germany.

- Beheer Central Offices, Hertzberger, 1967-72, Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

- Scandinavian Airlines Headquarters, Torp, 1986-1988, Stockholm, Sweden.

1.6 Standardization: Robert Propst, the Action office and cubicles. The modern North American


1.7 The big rethink: Experimental times. 1980-2000. Managerial changes, Technology, B

Commercial Business Districts and globalizing markets towards a new millennium

Case studies:

- Lloyd's building, Rogers, 1986, London, England.

- Bank of China Tower, I. M. Pei, 1982-1990, Hong Kong, China.

- HSBC Building, Foster, Arup, 1983-1985, Hong Kong, China.

- Broadgate, Arup, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1985-1990, London, England.

- Commerzbank Building, Rogers, 1994-1997, Frankfurt, Germany.

1.8 At the turn of a century: the office of the 21st century. The forces in play; from classic typologies to virtual working

Case studies:

- Googloplex, Wilkinson Architects, 2005, California, USA.

- Galaxy Soho, Hadid, 2009-2012, Beijing, China.

- Amazon Headquarters, Wilkinson Architects, 2014, Seattle, USA.

- Axel Springer media center, OMA, 2014, Berlin, Germany.

- Co-working spaces, various architects, Worldwide.

1.9 The Future of the office: The rising future of virtual productivity

Chapter II: Design intervention: Europacity Development project, Berlin, Germany

2.1 Project Architectural analysis: Presentation of the original proposal

2.2 Confrontation, critic and urban intervention on the current proposed design

2.3 Core Concepts and the Application of the Design Guidelines

2.4 Graphic representations: Design intervention tables

2.5 Closing argument: Final Conclusions of historical research and design intervention




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