The history of office design, from Herman Miller's revolutionary Action Office to today's hip co-working spaces, has been about realizing the right connection between layout and labor, and how making smart tweaks to the environment can deliver a more customized and efficient workspace. A new business partnership between CASE, a building consultancy focused on advancing BIM (building information modeling) technology and WeWork, a rapidly growing provider of co-working spaces that grossed $150 million last year and just acquired CASE, may represent the future of where (and how) we work. According to a recent post at ArchDaily, numerous opportunities arise when a leading-edge consultancy becomes the in-house designer for one of the fastest-growing owners of office space in the country.
A WeWork presentation on how data analysis of their own workplace can lead to better design.
By bringing digital modeling to bear on dynamic, adaptable offices, the CASE/WeWork collaboration could develop new prefabrication and modular construction techniques, work with fabricators to design new office arrangements and even explore how the Internet of Things can be intelligently applied to the workplace. As the author explains, it represents "an almost aggressively holistic conception what architecture is" and provides extensive opportunities to iterate and develop new projects over time, without having to worry about the typical approvals and schedules that go with working for clients. While some of the more highly publicized and outlandish ideas for workplace design, such as the Googleplex, draw inspiration from some of the more highly acclaimed architects working today, they don't always involve those with years of experiences analyzing workplace organization and traffic flow within offices (i.e. those whose "work" is work). While this model sets up a potentially productive long-term partnership, it shouldn't just be seen as something fit for the workplace.