4.181 Architecture Design Workshop: Researching User Demand for Innovative Offices

Fall 2002

Her Majesty's Treasury.
Her Majesty's Treasury, London. (Image by Frank Duffy / DEGW.)

Course Highlights

This workshop is the third 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. 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.

Course Description

The theme of this workshop is the design of the changing workplace. The objective of this workshop is to make MIT graduate students fully aware of emerging technological and social trends that are revolutionizing the working environment. We will explore and develop a wide range of practical techniques for measuring the performance of the built environment and will carry out field work in a real context. The end result will be the development of rigorous measurement techniques that allow users to illuminate the relationship between business purpose and the success of workplace design; we will systematically relate design evaluation to the urgent need and unrealized potential for design innovation. The workshop will benefit from exposure to knowledgeable clients and experienced practitioners who will be invited to weekly discussions and students will have access to an ongoing workplace evaluation exercise being conducted by Janet G. Fan, a former student of the workshop.
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Prof. Frank Duffy

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2 hours / session