The offices of DEGW, London. (Photo by Frank Duffy.)
This workshop is the fourth of a series of six being conducted by Francis Duffy, Visiting Professor 2001 to 2004 at MIT and founder of the international architectural and consulting practice, DEGW, which specializes in the design of working and learning environments that respond to changes in user demand.
Four initial public seminars (Spring 2001) set the scene for the three year series of workshops. The First Workshop (Fall 2001) examined innovation in the design of the workplace through a series of case studies. Interesting differences both in process and end product were recorded. The Second Workshop (Spring 2002) focused on 'Missing Products' - the main task was for students to define and specify services and products for 'New Ways of Working' that are still missing from the catalogues of conventional suppliers of office products and real estate services. The Third Workshop (Fall 2002) was an evaluation of the performance of the newly renovated MIT Aero/Astro laboratory in relation to a series of very well defined pedagogical objectives. Each student created and tested a means of measuring an aspect of building performance. This, the Fourth Workshop (Spring 2003), and the most successful because of its interdisciplinary nature, was concerned with exploring the potential for innovative services and products in office development. The Fifth and Sixth workshops will take place in the 2003-2004 academic year.
Please note that the projects
section contains the final student projects, which offer interesting and innovative insights into the future of office design and development.
This is an interdisciplinary workshop, not a design workshop in the ordinary sense. It is certainly intended for graduate students in architecture but also for students in the Center for Real Estate (CRE), and for students in other related disciplines, who are interested in getting the most out of the design process but are not themselves necessarily designers. The main qualification for taking part in the Workshop is an interest in, and an urgent desire to do something about, specifying the type, quality, image and performance of the new wave of speculative office buildings that will be needed in the next cycle of economic recovery.
The questions the workshop will address are:
What has and has not changed over the last three decades in the context of office development in the US?
What are the causes of the apparent current lack of interest in product development and renewal in the office market in the US?
What likely changes, e.g. in tenant and user demand, in business culture, in locational choice, in financial and funding practice, in leasing arrangements, in technology, in constructional technique, could justify and stimulate innovation?
What commercial incentives would it take for developers to take advantage of such changes?
What innovations in new building features, products and services for office development would be likely to result, especially if emerging user demand were to be taken seriously by suppliers?