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Florian Idenburg

Work Environments Glass Works


Florian Idenburg

Work Environments Glass Works


Work Environments Glass Works

Studio Instructor Florian Idenburg

This design studio at Harvard University Graduate School of Design is the second of three sponsored by the furniture company Knoll that examines, through research and design, the disruptive transformations that occur globally in environments where work takes place. Understanding the unique position of the office to both register changes within society and to actively reshape traditional hierarchies, tomorrow’s workplace must arrive with a clear attitude and outlook. This studio series attempts to explicate existing cultural trends and perspectives, using this knowledge to speculate on future scenarios and potential responses within the “worksphere.”

Teaching Associate Duncan Scovil

With this in mind, the second edition looks in depth at a single company, Corning Incorporated, and focuses on two interrelated domains of work: the laboratory and the factory.

Teaching Assistant Abigail Chang Students Mohamad Berry, John Going, Jia Gu, Justin Jiang, Chase Jordan, Ranjit Korah, Junyoung Lee, Manus Leung, Leonardo Rodriguez, Blair Storie-Johnson, LeeAnn Suen, Lilian Taylor, Enoch Wong Review Critics Jeffry Burchard, Andrew Holder, Timothy Hyde, Sheila Kennedy, Michael Kubo, Jeanette Kuo, Benjamin Pardo, Wayne Pike, Gabriel Smith, Pamela Strollo Studio made possible with the generous support of Knoll, Inc.


Foreword 8

Florian Idenburg

Scenarios 14

Exchange Lab Justin Jiang Junyoung Lee LeeAnn Suen

18

Integrated Periphery Manus Leung Lilian Taylor

22

The Guild John Going Blair Storie-Johnson

28 32 36

The Aesthetics of Innovation Jia Gu Ranjit Korah

Afterword

44

Benjamin Pardo

Deliberate Ambiguity Chase Jordan Enoch Wong Global Lab Mohamad Berry Leonardo Rodriguez

46 Contributors


Foreword

8


row’s workplace must arrive with a clear attitude and outlook. The Work Environments studio series attempts to explicate existing cultural trends and perspectives, using this knowledge to speculate on future scenarios and potential responses within the worksphere. This second edition of the studio took place during the spring of 2016 and is the subject of this report. Glass Works focuses on the dedicated space for innovation within larger corporate structures, by taking a critical look at those sites of research and development exemplified in the notion of the laboratory. Begun as a space for the individual pursuit of scientific discovery—as a home for the alchemist—through the course of the 20th century the laboratory transformed into a truly institutional work environment. Collaboration and communication are now seen as vital to invention in the lab as in any other workplace, but control and discretion are also necessary to maintain order and protect research findings. While “mad scientists” may still exist within the realm of innovation, their work must be isolated and placed under observation to guarantee replicable results. The laboratory must reconcile the fundamental contradiction of being both an experimental space that embraces exploration and inefficiency in pursuit of discovery, and a controlled space where potential volatility is contained and examined. To both understand and test the potentials of these work environments, the Glass Works studio developed around the spatial and organizational structures of Corning Incorporated. Since its founding in 1851, Corning has been at the forefront of innovation, from developing the original glass casing for Edison’s first light bulb, to the creation of cathode ray tubes and catalytic convertors, and more recent inventions such as fiberoptic cable and Gorilla Glass for personal computer, tablet, and smartphone applications. Through its commitment to research and development, Corning actively demonstrates the

9

Florian Idenburg

Corporations, for better or worse, are the engines that drive the economy in today’s global society. To ensure future profits and longevity, a company must optimize existing workflows while developing new ideas and products. Typically, knowledge production and innovation at a corporation are fostered through integrated research and development facilities. But in a climate in which shareholders demand ever faster and higher returns, it is exactly these areas of research and development that tend to come under fire from budget controls and marketing demands. Concurrently, the locus of corporate knowledge production is shifting, from large institutional research laboratories to nimbler, leaner, and even temporary research collectives. What roles do space, structure, and objects have within this new condition? Does architecture affect insight, or can order foster innovation? The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) understands the relevance of these changing dynamics, and the need for its students to develop knowledge around the subject. The Harvard GSD should be at the forefront of the discussion, as new economic orders affect the average person’s mental, social, and economic well-being. The furniture company Knoll has greatly invested in understanding the workplace of today, and also in anticipating how it will change in the near and distant future. To this end, Knoll has enabled a select group of Harvard GSD students to examine, through research and design over the course of three years, the disruptive transformations that occur globally in environments where work takes place. Assuming a strategically broad view, these studio explorations are intended to follow this investigation across scales and approaches, looking equally at the potential effects of worldwide economic swings and small-scale furniture innovations, the corporate structure and the individual response. Understanding the unique position of the workplace to register societal transformations and to actively reshape traditional hierarchies, tomor-


Foreword

10 Above: SO-IL’s pavilion at the 2016 Design Miami fair showcasing a collection of furniture created for Knoll and designed for the future workplace.


1. Exchange Lab Aware that it must continue the search for the next innovation, Corning opens a separate facility to sponsor smaller independent research projects undertaken without expectation of near-term profit or clear benefit. This facility provides a shared communal space and less immediate direction, encouraging collaboration, exchange, and risk-taking among workers. The lab is both incubator and working library, a space in which to ask questions and to add to Corning’s portfolio of inventions.

2. Integrated Periphery Today, Corning’s long-standing model of engagement with the government faces challenges, as the company confronts growing demands to monitor product use and manufacturing in response to security and environmental threats. Moving beyond “optics” problems, Corning creates a new democratic lab. It is an open space for communication and debate: the embodiment of Corning Incorporated as a good citizen. 3. The Guild Concerned by a potential loss of tradition and a younger, less committed workforce, Corning develops a 21st-century guild to bridge the gap between multiple generations. This new compound is intended to serve as a gateway for new workers and recent graduates into careers within the company, acknowledging and encouraging the unique voice and perspective of the next generation while remaining committed to communicating the lessons of previous ones. 4. The Aesthetics of Innovation Manifested in the discrete facilities of the factory, the laboratory, and the museum, Corning has previously hesitated to bring these domains fully together, seeing practical and conceptual barriers to their union. This project explores the potential of aesthetic awareness within Sullivan Park, making visible the different actions taken and products made there; not as a way to merely understand the manufacturing process, but rather as a method to appreciate the potential for design innovation and promote discussion. 5. Deliberate Ambiguity To prepare future collaborations, this unique compound is intended to foster collegial associations between Corning and one other corporation, providing equal space for employees from both companies. While some potential collaborators may be willing to share much of their research, others may be competitors as well. The compound attempts to manage the unique identities of both companies, while also providing the ideal space for interaction and innovation. 6. Global Lab Global Lab is a site for the disparate arms of Corning’s diverse operations and cultures to coalesce in the pursuit of new solutions. It is a war room of sorts, in which teams from Corning’s worldwide labs can come to stay and work together on short-term assignments and competitions. As such, it is a home for a rotating set of voices and distinct perspectives.

11

Florian Idenburg

potential of clear communication between the distinct environments of the laboratory and the factory, suggesting a model of work that, while structured, remains open to change. Thanks to the generosity of Corning Incorporated, the studio visited the company’s headquarters and facilities, learning firsthand about the company’s unique innovation culture. Based in the small town of Corning, New York, for the last century, the company has invested heavily in its eponymous community, building infrastructure and promoting culture. Creating a would-be glass bubble for their employees to work within, Corning brings together scientists and engineers from around the world to join its tight-knit community. In the face of ever-quickening changes in business and in society, Corning’s commitment to its history is noteworthy, as it suggests a resilient model of innovation that emerges from passing down knowledge and a culture of longevity, challenging many of today’s commonly accepted corporate trends that encourage speed and variety. The work generated through this studio attempts to build on Corning’s innovative legacy, exploring both the history of knowledge production as well as the notion of the “mad scientist” to produce a series of speculations and provocations grounded in historical research, even while anticipating future transformations. This report is an exceptionally compact summary of an astonishing amount of work produced over the course of fourteen weeks by thirteen students. Extensive research informed six design speculations situated on Corning’s Sullivan Campus in the village of Painted Post, in upstate New York. Each investigation extrapolates trends observed in contemporary work culture, developing various attitudes—be they idealistic or even amoral—to arrive at a clear response. The proposals are presented here as provocative scenarios that inform ongoing discussions of the worksphere in flux.


14

Exchange Lab

Faced with a fast-moving culture that demands constant innovation, traditional research and development structures are no longer enough for a corporation to compete in today’s technology-led economy. Companies are driven to perpetually update their core products, adapting them to new situations or cultural trends. But in order to truly succeed, or stay ahead of the curve, they must now open up entirely new fields of products and services, to cultivate, satisfy, or disrupt consumer desires. To this end, corporations increasingly invest in “moonshot” laboratories tasked specifically with developing long-shot technologies for the future. Building on the legacy of Bell Labs and IBM’s Watson Research Center, these facilities are seen as independent sites of innovation within a much larger organization. Yet in contrast to prior iconic laboratories, which were isolated from the prying eyes and budget constraints of an overbearing management, the new moonshot compounds assume a more integrated role within a company’s infrastructure. Still understood fundamentally as unique spaces operating outside the norms of the worksphere, these labs must nonetheless find ways to assert their independence within the greater institution. Building on Corning Incorporated’s legacy of sponsoring small-scale independent projects as a way of creating an arsenal of potential game-changing products, Exchange Lab embraces the reintegration of the undirected innovation lab into the corporate structure. Interpreting the desired alternative—more open research space—as a form of workplace heterotopia in which multiple realities exist simultaneously in productive conflict, Exchange Lab attempts to highlight, or animate, the relationship between various building systems and inhabitant activities. Like a city, the new center provides nested scales and experiences, enabling both the frameworks of organization and the vehicles that make them active. Movement across structures and forms simultaneously heightens connectivity and disjunction,

Justin Jiang Junyoung Lee LeeAnn Suen

requiring a calibrated, individual response on the part of the worker. In this formulation, the table becomes the smallest scale of action, a device responding to the room, the building, the campus, and the territory that makes up the company. Appearing as an amalgamation of distinct volumes from its exterior—a reflection of the existing organization of the Sullivan Park compound—entering Exchange Lab undermines this expectation immediately. Inside, a patchwork field of closed and open spaces breaks apart the previously understood forms, leaving only remnants of their geometries as landmarks throughout the compound. The worker must negotiate conflicting architectural elements, finding his or her own individual position within the fragmented landscape. Serving to bolster and emphasize this dynamic, structure acts as the primary driver of both control and freedom. It ties together the varied scales and approaches that dot the worker’s daily experience. Revealed only in the closed programs, the presence of structure becomes a revelatory moment, a tool to locate work and ground the worker back into the company as a whole. In contrast, the public spaces of the compound conceal the structure, offering spaces freed from rules and open to dialogue: permissive zones of exchange and reinvention. Rather than apply an external logic to Corning’s operations, Exchange Lab looks to the elements of Sullivan Park’s existing infrastructure to draw out new working dynamics. Loosening the relationship between its physical parts, the new building allows for a more open structure and set of possibilities. The individual worker and the company become tied together, not through mottoes or branding, but in the specific interchange of structure and furniture, a bind that actively integrates the decisions of both parties. Ultimately, innovation is produced in the interaction and reconciliation of the various elements of Corning itself.


15 Top: Illustration of the variable set-up of the Exchange Lab table, showing its rigid relationship with the overall structure and flexibility in open space.

Bottom: Conceptual plan highlighting the compound’s variable structural grid and its relationship to closed program spaces.


Exchange Lab

16

A

B

GROUND LEVEL PLAN 1:400

Top: Vignette depicting an intersection of the building’s exterior volumes. Undercutting a reading of discrete forms, a window spans the two visible structures.

Bottom: First floor plan of Exchange Lab, showing the field of closed and open programs, as well as fragments and outline of the compound’s larger forms.


DETAILED PLAN 1:100

17

Justin Jiang, Junyoung Lee, LeeAnn Suen Plan detail showing the overlaid and fragmentary nature of Exchange Lab. Multiple systems interact, with furniture taking on distinct roles in different work zones.


18

Integrated Periphery

Emerging security and environmental threats have instigated a 21st-century culture of constant monitoring, which has complicated existing, if precarious, links between corporations and governments. While relationships between these key societal actors have always been complex—defined by mutual dependency, as well as wariness and antagonism—this new stage of interaction heightens the underlying tensions within their collaboration. Today, governments increasingly compel corporations to share information and data, which threatens not only the confidence of their investors, but also the privacy of their consumers. As both clients and constant overseers, governments offer corporations a seemingly Faustian bargain: providing large-scale contracts and resources while separately demanding access to facilities and proprietary information. For many corporations, this double-edged collaboration requires an internal separation of public and privately funded projects, driving a wedge—financially and spatially—between researchers who may be undertaking similar projects or investigations within the same work environment. Eschewing this strategy of division, Integrated Periphery attempts to bring Corning Incorporated’s commercial and governmental labs into greater adjacency and exchange while maintaining necessary forms of discretion. Corning has long maintained a position on the “active periphery” of the military-industrial complex in the United States, providing services to various departments of the government while avoiding over-dependence and potential patent disputes. Integrated Periphery moves this calibrated relationship forward through a new joint laboratory facility. The compound simultaneously monumentalizes and complicates the ideal of political transparency. It makes radically visible the different types of work taking place inside, while simultaneously confounding the exact orientation of any singular unit and its operation. Offering only an unexplained transparency, Integrated Periphery embraces the

Manus Leung Lilian Taylor

practically and ethically ambiguous relationship of government contract work, allowing for a condition of constant visibility and, at the same time, limiting any physical overlap. As a space of influence, the compound ensures interactions between employees, if not full-hearted collaborations. By redesigning the traditional laboratory module, Integrated Periphery strives to encourage dialogue in its most basic research unit. An intertwined composition, the two-floor primary working module incorporates a government lab, a commercial lab, a shared space, and a public amenity, providing both separate and joint circulation to move between the distinct zones. Stacking and rotating this module to construct the full facility, the labs repeat, yet also reorient, creating a shifting and deceptive arrangement. A public path introduces the promise of coherence into this organization, as it ties the aggregated units together by linking the amenities of the auditorium, cafe, gallery, and library. In its completed form, the new structure seemingly operates as a courtyard building, offering two distinct facades to its community: an open and transparent interior image, and a varied and layered public face. Applied across the building’s outward-oriented exterior, a system of screens obfuscates the precise relationships of the labs and other programs inside. Workers and visitors alike must find their individual place within the complexities of the interior, as the initial public image of a clear form and organizational diagram is, over time, revealed to be anything but simple. Integrated Periphery’s embrace of the complex relationship between corporations and governments is a nuanced one. Seemingly embodying the ambiguity of the collaborative arrangement, the new structure conceals while revealing, and engages while refusing to fully connect. In allowing for multiple states to be visible without clarifying relationships, the new compound enables a less isolated workforce without sacrificing discretion.


19

Site Plan 1:2000

integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions

integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions

integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions ibrated interactions

integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions

Modular System

Public Circulation

integrated modular unit - calibrated interactions

Top left: Diagram of the new laboratory facility’s primary working module. The basic unit features interlocking commercial and government labs, along with a shared workspace and public amenity.

Bottom left: Diagrams illustrating the compound’s range of facade types. The layered screen panels permit calibrated levels of exposure of the interior labs and circulation.

Bottom right: Exploded axonometric drawing of stacked lab modules, highlighting the public spaces of each and the pathway linking them together.


Integrated Periphery

20 Renderings depict a commercial laboratory space and a government laboratory space within Integrated Periphery. While similar, the two spaces differ in their connections to the adjacent programs seen in the background of each image.


21

Manus Leung, Lilian Taylor Constructed view of the Integrated Periphery compound exterior. The two sides of the image capture views from opposite sides of the building, suggesting the inability to fully perceive the organization within.


22

The Guild

With millennials now moving fully into all levels of the work world, intergenerational dynamics become increasingly strained as opposing cultures and values create fresh divisions between old and new employees. Burned by years of endless internships and temporary jobs, yet enabled by the immediate access to information and connection of technology, millenials regularly challenge the appropriateness of the traditional corporate ladder and its paragon: the company employee. Reorienting the ambitions of the past, the single-job career has become a rarity, and the new generation of workers prepares instead for a life of multiple positions and enterprises. As a result, institutional legacy and long-developed methods are put at risk as companies find themselves with a dwindling committed workforce with which to entrust trade secrets and to administer leadership roles. The physical office becomes the primary site of both conflict and opportunity in this demographic shift, as it brings together multiple age groups on dedicated projects. In stark contrast to the cultural trend toward mobility and transience, Corning Incorporated has embraced longevity as a central strategy in its corporate agenda, encouraging lifelong commitment and engagement from its employees. Concerned about a potential loss of tradition and a younger, more mobile workforce, The Guild re-imagines the medieval work club and apprentice system for Corning, seeing it as a way to bridge the gap between multiple generations, and to instill a spirit of innovation and appreciation for craft. This new institution and its compound is intended to serve as a gateway for younger workers and new graduates into the company, acknowledging and encouraging their unique voices and perspectives while remaining committed to communicating the lessons of previous generations. The Guild restructures the tasks of innovation into distinct characteristics, defining in the process four innovation workshops, each with a different investigative strategy and focus. Appropriating the names

John Going Blair Storie-Johnson

of research fields from the distant past, The Guild imagines four contemporary work groups: “Necromancers,” “Blacksmiths,” “Soothsayers,” and “Alchemists.” These primary units of research reframe the activities of Sullivan Park as a shared endeavor, pursuing different combinations of known and unknown information and goals. Experienced and new perspectives work hand-in-hand. A guild hall formally unites the distinct workshops, serving as a hub for exchange, debate, and celebration. Committed to disseminating the accumulated knowledge and traditional processes at Corning, The Guild recalls the forms and motifs of its medieval predecessors. The intertwined stability and evolution that defined those models is explored in two traditional forms of urban development: the crossroads and the bounding wall. As a starting point, the crossroads initiate a series of diagrammatic relationships that must be confronted and contorted. Built out of modular gabled units that allow light and services to enter into the workshops, this overall compound appears as an amalgamation of distinct characters and decisions, visible both in its interior organization and exterior image. In contrast, the bounding wall provides a physical and visual limit. It is a protective enclosure that allows for interpretation to occur within. Inhabiting the wall, the primary programs of the compound frame a central yard that provides space for gathering and reflection: a technological cloister. A peripheral tower anchors one corner of the compound, housing the primary workshops and serving as the would-be cathedral of research. Seeing the potential impact of generational shifts on Corning’s culture of commitment and longevity, The Guild restructures the processes of invention and research as part of a larger and enduring pursuit of knowledge. The new structure attempts to both preserve institutional memory and methods, and embrace a new culture of exchange and movement, allowing for transition between disciplines and fields within the structure of the corporation itself.


23 15’

Left: Exploded axonometric drawing of the crossroads model of The Guild, highlighting the central intersection and 30’ the four workshops.

45’

Right: Exploded axonometric drawing of the wall model of The Guild, explaining the relationship of the perimeter wall, the workshop tower, 60’ and the central yard.


The Guild: Crossroads

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Plan L2 | 1:200

Top: Plan of the crossroads model. The four workshops sit on each corner of the compound, clearly identifiable by their distinct spatial planning logics. Two central axes mediate these domains, one containing the high-bay production space, and the other, the guild hall.

Bottom: Sections showing the varied roof profiles and their relation to the workspaces below. The roof articulates specific workshop organizations, and provides light to the lab spaces through clerestory windows.


25

John Going Interior rendering of the crossroads model, depicting a single working unit in the compound. The lab bench is integrated with the wall and roof, allowing for the proper distribution of light and services.


26

The Guild: Wall

Necromancers - L5

Soothsayers - L7

Top: Plan of the “Soothsayer� workshop in the wall model of The Guild, which responds to the forms of knowledge explored and produced within.

Bottom: Elevation of the wall model of The Guild with the existing Sullivan Park facilities behind. The highly articulated facade recalls that of a castle, while allowing for new routes of access and exchange.

All Plans 1:250


27

Blair Storie-Johnson View of an entrance to The Guild complex. Passing through a break in the wall, the new employees of Corning are welcomed into the company’s established culture.


28

The Aesthetics of Innovation

Jia Gu Ranjit Korah

Today, aesthetics are considered vital to innovative capacity and success, with corporations obliged to navigate an emerging visual world through novel interfaces for wearable technologies and smart devices. Long connected to art and design through corporate philanthropy, patronage, and collecting, the new technological landscape requires a more substantive aesthetic engagement from companies within their actual production. In addition to developing new technologies, companies must also integrate them into compelling forms complete with a signature vision and appearance. Conferences like TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) promote this aesthetic link, encouraging the proliferation of design-thinking and methodology within the business world. Simultaneously, emerging styles and trends like “normcore” both critique and popularize the visual banality often present in traditional business or mainstream culture, requiring either a clear break or embrace of the paradigmatic company character. The corporation can no longer be a mere sponsor or buyer of art, but must regularly question its own internal image, becoming a working aesthetic machine. The Aesthetics of Innovation challenges the now commonplace application of an external design strategy within industry and research and attempts to make visible the beauty within work and production itself. Using Corning Incorporated’s own materials and methods to define the company’s aesthetic identity, the new research compound introduces more transparency into various processes, allowing for sensorial awareness without the need for total comprehension. Charting the trajectories and exchanges of different categories of employees, the routine experiences of each group overlap and intertwine, exposing materials and mechanisms to different users. Directly connected to the existing Sullivan Park compound, the new structure serves to reveal—rather than usurp— the physical environment of Corning. It offers a chance for employees to experience the work

taking place there, while momentarily freed from any preconceived intention or direction. The facility is intended as a place of inspiration, as well as innovation: a device to discover the beauty, along with the function, of research. Reimagining the current architecture of Sullivan Park, The Aesthetics of Innovation contradicts the existing campus’s focus on separation and enclosure with a new logic of exposure. Divided between two floors, one housing laboratories and fabrication, and the other offices, the disparate spaces of work are revealed to each other through varied ceiling and floor heights. Inverting the hallway model, in which each lab exists as an autonomous and closed module, The Aesthetics of Innovation engages the distinct volumes of the facility in a three-dimensional system of interlocked rooms. The new organization re-imagines the palatial enfilade, here not only allowing for the procession of people, but also of materials. Permitting movement directly from room to room, this system nonetheless secures the individual working units of the lab, finding a middle ground between the isolation of the enclave and the over-exposure of the open office. A portable bench/storage system further acts to unite the disparate work environments of the compound as it structures movement and organizes space, putting on display different artifacts of work, while providing a shared language of furniture across domains. In the current technological and business landscape that demands an engagement with design to effectively compete, The Aesthetics of Innovation facilitates the development of a unique aesthetic identity for Corning from within. Rather than project a pre-existing style or model onto the company, incorporating art, or imposing radically different visual cues, the new compound simply exposes the actions and objects of research that already exist, finding a resilient aesthetic identity in the ever-evolving processes of glass work.


29 Top: Diagram and rendering depicting the interlocked plan of the compound’s upper level. Office workers above are given regular views downward into production and lab spaces.

Bottom: Diagram and rendering showing the interlocked circulation plan of the compound’s lower level. Lacking separate hallways, workers must pass through different production and lab spaces.


The Aesthetics of Innovation

30 Top: Axonometric rendering highlighting the relationship between levels and workspaces. Distinct aperture types allow for select views across zones. Working benches move freely in all spaces.

Bottom: The new lab or office bench can transform to adapt to different programs. Also serving as a cart to transport materials, this custom furniture functions as a display case in constant motion.


31

Jia Gu, Ranjit Korah Fragment of the building’s second level plan. Along with the offices, labs, and production spaces, amenities like theaters, parks, and cafes punctuate this new landscape.


32

Deliberate Ambiguity

With the continued proliferation of start-ups and incubators, the goals of permanence and independence that were once markers of successful companies have all but disappeared. Today, mergers, acquisitions, and associations are not only normative business events, but in fact the desired outcomes for many nascent enterprises. Buying and absorbing various teams and their products, large corporations face a test in how to integrate a wide range of independent business cultures. In pursuit of company cohesion, unique working arrangements and collaborative models are constructed. Groups and subsets emerge to tentatively hold the newly purchased start-ups in place, even as they are absorbed into the larger entity and its management structure. Yet divisions remain. Bringing together these distinct cultures within a single space, the office is the site in which conflicts are played out. The space of work becomes the terrain on which to define a distinct yet open organizational and working ethos, without sacrificing the exchange needed to perpetuate innovation. Deliberate Ambiguity imagines a new compound to house future joint ventures at Corning Incorporated’s Sullivan Park Laboratory. Drawing on Corning’s own successful history of associations with other companies, from Dow Corning to Owings Corning to Siecor, Deliberate Ambiguity creates a structure amenable to multiple and evolving types of exchange. While one potential collaborator may complement Corning and be fully open and transparent, providing insight from another field or industry, another partner may be a competitor, wary of over-sharing and protective of intellectual property. To accommodate these distinct perspectives, Deliberate Ambiguity consolidates these potential scenarios into three key working relationships that the new structure must allow for: “Symbiosis,” “Paranoia,” and “Friendly Neighbors.” In allowing for multiple forms of exchange, the compound must negotiate the competing demands of division and unification, preparing for either outcome.

Chase Jordan Enoch Wong

Engaging directly with the shifting boundaries inherent in a corporate partnership, the new building envisioned in Deliberate Ambiguity works to diffuse, and ultimately undermine, those separations. Two primary systems work against each other to create this productive uncertainty, using repetition and pixelation to blur the boundary between Corning, its collaborator, and their respective sides within the structure. Cut through by a central and wandering atrium, each floor of the building is split in two, creating a constant line of separation. Yet contrary to this dramatic division, the atrium also serves as the site of merger throughout the entirety of the compound. Floor by floor it rotates and narrows, reorienting the boundary of each collaborator and their territorial claims. Taking the elevator up through the compound, workers emerging on each floor are given no clear indication of the side on which they have arrived. Further undermining the reading of separation, the entire building appears to be built from a homogeneous material, a gridded framework that has been eroded to produce varied openings and splits. A singular system underlies the separation that the building manically reproduces and requires. In the current worksphere, which celebrates the financial successes and independent culture of start-ups, Deliberate Ambiguity looks to the structures that must ultimately encompass the corporate partnerships born from them. Corning’s particular situation and legacy provide a specific guide for this endeavor, clarifying the needs and desires of joint ventures and associations, while outlining the conditions necessary for their success. Revealing multiple possible forms of collaboration within this dynamic, the innovation model that emerges must allow for different readings and divisions, providing space for both the enthusiastic and the skeptical.


33 Lobby

Lobby

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

Shared Program Zone

shared shared boundaries: boundaries: a joint-venture a joint-venture laboratory laboratory

work work environments environments 2:2: glass glass works works

Destabalized DestabalizedTerrains Terrains

Services

Services

instructor: instructor: florian florian idenburg idenburg

Top: Concept diagrams explaining the role of the central atrium as a device to both separate and unify the programmed spaces of each company.

chase chase jordan jordan ++ enoch enoch wong wong

Bottom: Spatial diagrams illustrating floor slab pixelation in relation to the building’s structural grid.


Deliberate Ambiguity

34 Top: Elevation of the new joint venture facility. Floor slabs regularly extend through the glass facade, undermining the clarity of the tower and plinth organization of program zones.

Bottom: Lobby level plan showing the pixelated central atrium form dividing the two sides of the facility. The plan reveals the dueling desires to divide and connect that actively shape the worker’s experience.


35

Chase Jordan, Enoch Wong Sectional axonometric of the Deliberate Ambiguity complex. The interplay of different systems and program zones creates a highly variable yet delineated interior.


36

Global Lab

Today’s corporation extends across the map, searching out resources, manpower, and markets to stay competitive. In the process, the rhythms that once organized the historic company town, embodied in the scheduled blasts of the daily work whistle, are replaced by a simple and overarching edict: don’t stop. Running on a shared 24-hour clock, the network of offices that now make up a company together work continuously to deliver services, supplies, and products to their larger business community. And while these diverse settings complement the focus of a corporation and enable constant production, they also challenge the singular image through which the business publically identifies and markets itself. Isolated in regional branches, component parts like manufacturing plants are walled off from a company’s headquarters, and allowed to operate with distinct focuses and ethics. A global corporation must learn to engage with and manage distinct and diverse workforces around the world, organizing their facilities in multiple locations with varied employee demographics and cultures. Global Lab seeks to harness the corporation’s global energy, rather than simply separate workers into regions. It imagines a new international hub for Corning Incorporated, tasked with solving the company’s most difficult problems. Based at the Sullivan Park Campus nearby the company’s historic headquarters and namesake town of Corning, New York, Global Lab builds on the company’s long commitment to its community, both internal and external. Part parliament, part war room, the new facility embraces the diversity of Corning employees, bringing small teams of workers from satellite facilities together into one space, and onto one clock, to focus their collective efforts. Responding to the distinct working styles and backgrounds of employees from different locations, this facility not only provides a range of spaces for production, research, and clerical work, but it also structures these within a landscape of different attitudes. Global Lab attempts to find unity

Mohamad Berry Leonardo Rodriguez

within approaches to work itself, mediating diverse perspectives through shared methods and exchanges, and creating space for five categories of organizational dynamics: “Order,” “Indulgence,” “Introspection,” “Chaos,” and “Speculation.” Global Lab takes the primitive boundary of the wall as its organizing unit, manipulating its form, orientation, and interaction to provide an open space for finding common ground. Encompassing both structure and services, the wall serves as the site for definition and experimentation, an active element inspiring collaboration, rather than division. In its fragmented state, the wall replaces the isolated enclosure of the laboratory room, enabling communication while requiring new formal languages to manage division and discretion. Although there are multiple options for the distribution of these walls, Global Lab explores two alternative visions: the first proposes a single overarching system to absorb the five different categories of organization, and the second maintains a clear and distinct arrangement for each organizational dynamic. The first alternative focuses on the spacing and scaling of various elements to evoke emotion within a continuous—or universal—field of work. In contrast, the second alternative allows for clear formal characters—or districts—to emerge in response to each dynamic, placing increasing tension on points of overlap and confrontation. In today’s globalized world, the corporation faces challenges to manage and maintain its identity and values across cultures and regions. Bringing together the disparate voices that make up its corporate network, Global Lab reframes the 21st-century vision of Corning, acting as a physical manifestation of the global village that it now encompasses. The laboratory model that emerges embraces the distinct viewpoints of workers from different fields, locations, ages, and backgrounds, providing a structure organized not around types of work, but rather the shared attitudes necessary to conduct it.


SITE PLAN 1: 1000

ORDER

CHAOS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

CHAOS

SHOPS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

ORDER

OPEN LABS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

OFFICES

CLOSED LABS

OPEN LABS

ORDER

SHOPS

OFFICES

INDULGENCE

OPEN LABS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

SHOPS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

OPEN LABS

OFFICES

The figure ground inverts and rooms become part of the poche. Circulation becomes redundant; the user must go outside to go back inside.

CLOSED LABS

Individual rooms are separated by thick walls of poche. The redundancy of poche creates a heightened sense of privacy and isolation.

CLOSED LABS

OFFICES

Program is stratified in bands of production, laboratory and meeting spaces. The user moves laterally across the bands of program according to daily tasks.

Rooms are defined by a field co colliding walls create moments circulation is p

SHOPS

CLOSED LABS

INDULGENCE

OPEN LABS

SITE PLAN 1: 1000

INTROSPECTION

and rooms become part of the s redundant; the user must go go back inside.

Y LY

SPECULATION

37

INTROSPECTION

Program is stratified in bands of production, laboratory and meeting spaces. The user moves laterally across the bands of program according to daily tasks.

Rooms are defined by a field condition of collisions. The colliding walls create moments of overlap through which circulation is possible.

SPECULATION

Spaces are defined by a field condition of curved surfaces. The soft corners of each poche invite individual to move around freely from one room to the next.

INTROSPECTION

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

FIELD CONDITION GRADIENT

SHOPS

SPECULATION

ORDER

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

CHAOS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

INDULGENCE

SHOPS Individual rooms are separated by thick walls of poche. The redundancy of poche creates a heightened sense of privacy and isolation.

The figure ground inverts and roo poche. Circulation becomes redun outside to go back

OPEN LABS

SITE PLAN

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

GRADIENT

CHAOS

OPEN LABS

OFFICES

CLOSED LABS

OPEN LABS

INTROSPECTION

The figure ground inverts and rooms become part of the

SPECULATION

Program is stratified in bands of production, laboratory and meeting spaces. The user moves laterally across the bands of program according to daily tasks.

poche. Circulation becomes redundant; the user must go OBJECTS outside to go back inside.

CLOSED LABS

OFFICES

1: 1000

SHOPS

rated by thick walls of poche. creates a heightened sense of nd isolation.

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

CLOSED LABS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

Rooms are defined by a field condition of collisions. The colliding walls create moments of overlap through which circulation is possible.

OPEN LABS

SHOPS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

OPEN LABS

O

FIELD CONDITION GRADIENT

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

Individual rooms are separated by thick walls of poche. The figure ground inverts and rooms become part of the The redundancy poche createsdescribing a heightened sense of poche. Circulation becomes redundant; the user must go Right:ofDiagrams architectural privacy and isolation. outside to go back inside.

Left: Diagrams illustrating the architectural interpretation of the different working attitudes in the universal model of Global Lab, developed solely through the relationship of a single wall type.

Spaces are defined by a field faces. The soft corners of each move around freely from

OPEN LABS

SPECULATION

OPEN LABS

ORDER

interpretations of the different working attitudes in the district model of Global Lab, created through the relationship and articulation of different walls and their arrangements.

Program is stratified in bands of p and meeting spaces. The user mov bands of program according


Global Lab: Universal

38 Top: Diagrams of the program to wall relationships in the universal model of Global Lab. The wall serves both as structure and divider, acting as a support for additional services and furniture in the compound.

Bottom: Although varying in height and area, the walls in the universal model do not rotate or thicken. Within this two-sided, maze-like condition, workspaces are revealed or concealed depending on a worker’s orientation.


39

Mohamad Berry

1st Floo

Plan highlighting the different working conditions created through the density, arrangement, and intersection of walls.


10

10

7 9

9

3

7

8

8

SITE PLAN 1: 1000

4 2

INTROSPECTION

SPECULATION

ORDER

CHAOS

INDULGENCE

1 SHOPS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

OPEN LABS

9 7

OPEN LABS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

CLOSED LABS

OPEN LABS

OFFICES

SHOPS

CLOSED LABS

OPEN LABS

SHOPS

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

CLOSED LABS

OFFICES

7

Global Lab: District

40

8

HIGH BAY ASSEMBLY

8 Individual rooms are separated by thick walls of poche. The redundancy of poche creates a heightened sense of privacy and isolation.

The figure ground inverts and rooms become part of the poche. Circulation becomes redundant; the 10 user must go outside to go back inside. 6

8 Rooms are defined by a field condition of collisions. The colliding walls create moments of overlap through which circulation is possible.

Program is stratified in bands of production, laboratory 7 and meeting spaces. The user moves laterally across the bands of program according to daily tasks.

Spaces are defined by a field condition of curved surfaces. The soft corners of each poche invite individual to move around freely from one room to the next.

10 10

5 7 3

9

9 10

7

9

8

4 2

1

7

7

FIELD CONDITION GRADIENT 10 7

6

5 10

10

OOR PLAN

8

KEY 1. SECURITY CHECKPOINT 2. ADMINISTRATION 3. LIBRARY 4. EVENT 5. BAR 6. CAFETERIA 7. RESIDENTIAL TOWER EGRESS 8. PARKING RAMP 9. LOADING AREA 10. HYDROLIC LIFTS

OBJECTS

GROUND FLOOR PLAN 1: 400

KEY SECTION 1: 200

Top: Second-level plan of the district model showing the facility’s primary working level. Different characters of work are laid out in distinct zones that intersect and negotiate with each other. EVENT

CHAOS

BAR

LIBRARY

ORDER

Middle: Housing the structure and services within the facility, the walls expand and become layered objects, creating spaces for storage and movement.

INDULGENCE

SPECULATION CAFE INTROSPECTION

Bottom: Section through the compound revealing the relationship between the primary working level, the landscape below, and housing towers above.


41

Leonardo Rodriguez Axonometric depicting the juxtaposition of forms, workspaces, and architectural elements that make up the overall building.


Afterword

44


organization that has consistently been at the epicenter of global innovation. The six Glass Works workplace planning scenarios presented all thoughtfully consider the Knoll point of view, originally pioneered by Florence Knoll. Her Planning Unit re-imagined the workplace from an architectural perspective. Beyond any one single piece of furniture, the Planning Unit looked at how an object, or collection of objects, contributes to creating an inspiring space. New working dynamics demand new solutions. The forward-thinking Glass Works environments presented here optimistically signal the many opportunities for considered change in today’s workplace.

45

Benjamin Pardo

The nature of work has fundamentally shifted. And so, too, has the essential nature of the workspace. Glass Works, the second of three Work Environments studios at the Harvard GSD sponsored by Knoll, builds on the research and findings of the first studio in the series. Campus and Event explored the ever-changing cast of social, economic, and cultural pressures in the modern office that place into a state of tension what was, what is, and what could be. Glass Works offers a more pragmatic yet introspective object of study, building on the critical conversation about the future of work within the particular context of Corning Incorporated, a creative, manufacturing-driven


46

Contributors

Florian Idenburg Florian Idenburg is Founding Partner of the firm SO–IL and Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is the 2010 laureate of the Charlotte KÜhler Prize and a 2014 finalist for the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands. Benjamin Pardo Benjamin Pardo is Executive Vice President and Director of Design at Knoll, Inc. Duncan Scovil Duncan Scovil is a designer based in Cambridge, MA, and a Teaching Associate in Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Rhode Island School of Design.


47


Colophon

Work Environments Glass Works Instructor Florian Idenburg Teaching Associate Duncan Scovil Report Editor & Design Duncan Scovil A Harvard University Graduate School of Design Publication Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design Mohsen Mostafavi Editor in Chief Jennifer Sigler Publications Coordinator Meghan Sandberg Editorial Support Kari Rittenburg Series design by Laura Grey and Zak Jensen ISBN 978-1-934510-60-5 Copyright © 2016, President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Acknowledgments Special thanks to Corning Incorporated and the Corning Museum of Glass for generously hosting the studio and to all those who shared invaluable time, perspective, and facilities with the group. We would especially like to thank Charles Craig for thoughtfully organizing the visit, as well as Rob Cassetti, Glenn Cook, Hank Dunnenberger, Wayne Pike, Rita Rukosueva, and Pamela Strollo. Additional thanks are due to David Edwards, Carrie Fitzsimmons, Knoll, Inc., Benjamin Pardo, Jessica Richardson, and Clancy Steele Gonzales. Image Credits Front Cover: © Abigail Chang Inside Cover: © Science Museum London Page 2: © Wellcome Images Page 4: © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos Page 6–7: National Park Service HAER Page 10: © SO-IL Page 12–13: © SO-IL Page 42–43: © Mitch Altman The editors have attempted to acknowledge all sources of images used and apologize for any errors or omissions. Harvard University Graduate School of Design 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 02138 publications@gsd.harvard.edu gsd.harvard.edu Studio made possible with the generous support of Knoll, Inc.


Studio Report Spring 2016

Harvard GSD Department of Architecture

Students Mohamad Berry, John Going, Jia Gu, Justin Jiang, Chase Jordan, Ranjit Korah, Junyoung Lee, Manus Leung, Leonardo Rodriguez, Blair Storie-Johnson, LeeAnn Suen, Lilian Taylor, Enoch Wong

ISBN 978-1-934510-60-5

9 781934 510605 >

Work Environments: Glass Works  

Work Environments: Glass Works, Studio Report, Spring 2016, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructor: Florian Idenburg.

Work Environments: Glass Works  

Work Environments: Glass Works, Studio Report, Spring 2016, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructor: Florian Idenburg.