Different enterprises require different things from their workplaces – it’s time to meet the needs of more companies.
Technology has clearly created change in every modern office and working condition. In a way, every company is now a tech company. Collaboration, flexibility, shared space, personal choice, mobility, wellness and work-life integration are now valued in almost every industry. As more and more workplaces design themselves to meet these priorities, whether through flexible spaces, amenities or connections to the surrounding city.
But not all companies find the need to embody these tendencies wholeheartedly. The traditional commercial high rise works perfectly well for some companies, while others search for startup loft-like space with large floor area and flexibility. The issue is most commercial developments offer only one of these styles.
However, if there were more office buildings that did embody a range of identities, it would not only reduce the risk of the developer but also create a more dynamic workplace environment in the combination of diverse enterprises.
THE CENTER-CORE TOWER
The traditional center-core high rise is familiar to developers, property owners and tenants, and for many traditional companies like legal and financial firms the simple layout makes workplace planning simple.
The center core structure does have downsides in the modern work environment. Employees views of other colleagues are blocked, and visibility has been one of the surest and simplest ways to foster collaboration within the workplace. Creative firms do not tend to foster well in these environments – the anonymity of a corporate office tower is a perception that doesn’t bode well for creativity.
THE COURTYARD BUILDING
City connectivity has also been largely ignored in developments of the past. Companies have a desire to remain connected to the city they are in, and express their identity in their building. Visibility is important – whether on the same floor or throughout a building, collaboration and shared connection are encouraged.
Buildings with a courtyard provide this benefit. A courtyard allows for a layout that works for established creative companies, like tech and media. A low rise building centered around a shared outdoor space might create more connection both within the enterprise and to the city they are in.
THE LOFT OFFICE
In particular, there is a trend for tech firms to cluster together – either within a neighborhood or a building. They are attracted to the sense of community it brings. Larger firms appreciate the smaller firms that act as either R&D labs or targets for acquisition Many of these smaller firms, along with startups and incubators, would fit well in a loft office with an offset core.
While the offset core layout tends to have quirks, creative companies appreciate these and take them into their culture and identity. Visual connectivity and daylight are a given, thanks to the thinness of the floor plate. And locating the loft office near the courtyard building not only creates a sense of community across companies but also gives startups a place to expand when they outgrow the incubator.
THE HYBRID TOWER
A “hybrid tower,” by combining these three typologies on one site, would greatly differentiate a commercial development from its competitors. In a volatile market, it would allow developers to appeal to a wider variety of firms, especially tenants with which they might not have much expertise. Most importantly, it would create the armature for a new creative campus, one that would support the enterprises of the future.
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