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Growing Cities The city is growing, technology is moving forward, and people are constantly changing. The way we work is shifting and slowly, the places we work are adapting to match this. As we gain knowledge on the methodology behind working habits and what influences productivity we can see how the future of work can be improved dramatically. Changes in our working environment can have a profound impact on the level of efficiency and output of workers, along with their health and wellbeing.

Discover how work fits in This investigation seeks to discover how the way we work can fit with our changing urban landscape and responds by proposing new environments for work. A close examination of current trends, patterns and predictions has influenced our understanding of the possibilities of the future city and led us to our final conclusions and proposals. Our collaboration with the architects at NBRS+PARTNERS was instrumental to the development of our spatial ideas. This paper presents a glimpse into the possibilities of the future based on current trends. As each year brings forth a new way of thinking and culture, the changes made between now and 2050 can radically improve the process of work as we know it today. William Hasko & Veronica Ho - ENVISION 2013



beyond the Third Workplace Contents Generational Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 reworking the city. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 embodied within the city. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 reworking the workplace. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 The Office. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 The Central Hub. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 Breakout Spaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68




Generational Change Global urbanisation coupled with an increased technological mobility raises the question of the need for traditional office spaces. With the rapidly changing world and a growing knowledge of the way people work, our contemporary workplace management may not be ideal for workers in the context of changing generational trends. An exploration of these issues provides a starting point for future design solutions to the traditional office and the spaces around it.


calling the CITY home


For the first time in history, 2011 saw more people around the world call a city home, as opposed to rural areas. Additionally, there are currently 23 mega cities on the planet (those with a population exceeding 10 million people) who together account for 10% of the world’s urban population.1


Currently there is a global trend to live amongst the city as it is the cultural, economic and social centre. As a result, cities are becoming larger, denser and more important. The demand for more efficient use of space is now a priority. The pressure on attaining privacy will redefine the understanding of private space. This increase in both density and value of space within cities will result in a reduction on the current standard of 10 square metres per person, requiring a rethink of the way commercial spaces are designed.

Cities will double in size in our lifetime 1 100%

2.6 Billion

6.9 Billion

9.3 Billion









Million 1950


9 Generational Change

Percentage of population living in cities



the car & the City


Looking at worldwide trends, there is an unquestionable shift in the way people travel around cities. Car usage had reached an all time high entering the 21st Century, but in recent years a gradual return to cycling, walking & public transport can be observed internationally. With the increase of traffic and decrease of space in cities, alternative means of transport have become increasingly common.


16% Case Study: Melbourne Up to 16% of Melbourne’s CBD is devoted to car use.2 Melbourne’s CBD is an example of how city roads occupy a significant portion of the CBD’s land area. Imagine if cities were more people centric than car centric. This decrease in road space would open up the city for an expansion in more liveable and usable spaces.

Growth in transport use in Australia’s Major cities (2003-08) 2008


2007 10%









Public Transport passenger kms per capita

Generational Change

Car passenger kms per capita

Ratio of bicycle users in Brisbane 3 1986



Comfort in a changing world


Although technology, urbanisation and the attitudes of each generation are constantly changing, there are several unchanging needs of workers within a successful workplace.


Workplaces may continue to evolve in their look and function, however they must address the physical and mental comfort of their users as a matter of first importance. Unchanging needs of workers include the need for a natural view, territoriality and confidence. The fulfilment of these needs help to create physical and mental comfort for workers. While these needs do not contribute to the collaborational activity within a workspace, they are important for providing a sense of choice.

Natural View “The effect of beauty—the aesthetic element of a work environment—may be the most unquantifiable contributor to psychological comfort in the workplace.” 7 A natural view has been proven to enhance performance within the workplace. This need has become increasingly acknowledged, for example, Germany’s Workplace Ordinance demands that each worker have direct visual contact with the outside world.

Territoriality Territoriality refers to the need to define and have control over one’s territory. A lack of involuntary interruptions, the ability to personalise and a private space all contribute to one’s sense of territoriality.

Lack of Interruptions Visual, auditory and physical interruptions are “the real enemy of productivity”.5 Like sleep, work is ‘phase-based’ and any interruption may disrupt an entire phase. Current workplaces are filled with involuntary interruptions.

Personalisation This is a method used to mark one’s territory and is an expression of status and personality. This assists in managing stress, expressing emotions and ensures a sense of control in the workplace. Personalisation is linked to commitment and investment.

Private Space An individual must feel that they have control over their private space to feel mentally comfortable within their environment.

Confidence Studies show that employees with higher confidence earn higher wages and were also promoted at a quicker rate. 6

13 Generational Change

There are elements of human nature that are unchanging amidst our ever-changing surrounds. These needs are more important considerations for physical and mental comfort in order to maximise workplace efficiency.

dynamic relationships Looking at the last four generations, trends show a shift in attitudes: From Authority Following Formal Distinctive/Separate Areas of Life


‘Live to Work’ Attitude


Towards Moral Thinking Casual Greater Overlap ‘Work to Live’ Attitude

Social researcher, Mark McCrindle, in his book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding the Global Generations, marks these changes within the workplace and describes how, whilst the key management system for Baby Boomers was supervision, it has moved towards a system of empowerment.4 This has caused a shift from an employer-focused office toward an employeefocused work space. This change is instrumental in looking forward to the way workplaces will be designed in the future.

Generational changes have hastened the breakdown of the traditional hierarchy of relationships. The new workplace is a fluid network of relationships between all members in the office.

The key management system for Baby Boomers was supervision, it has moved towards a system of empowerment.

Traditional workplace structure

15 Generational Change

Contemporary workplace structure

Untethering The car was seen as a vehicle of freedom and now the smartphone is... Graham John, City of Sydney 2012


An increased desire to be connected at all times has been represented by the increased density of cities. A sense of connection, not just in the physical sense, but also the virtual sense has become a high priority.


The need to be connected to others and have information at our fingertips at any point in time, regardless of location and proximity, is becoming progressively essential. As a result, the technological advancements within the last decade have focused on devices which are able to provide this information and connectedness as a deliverable. The mobility of these devices is fundamental in their design to guarantee convenient usage. The production and continual development of these devices have ensured that workers are able to remain connected to people & information and in many cases, perform their work activities away from the traditional office. As the bulky personal computer is no longer needed for a workable environment, workers have been untethered to the traditional office, creating opportunities to complete work tasks essentially anywhere.

Technology has reached a point where it has the ability to mobilise humanity. With advancements in communication, the importance of physical proximity is decreasing. In many cases, doing work away from colleagues in a location of the user’s choosing is actually more conducive for private work. Technology has made this increasingly possible.

106.1 million tablets sold in 2012 - an 84% increase from 2011



25% of 2yr olds have used a smartphone


billion device applications bought in 2012 Sources 8 & 9

Generational Change

of the world population have a mobile subscription

Activity Overlaps


In the past, the time we spent in the three main areas of our lives - work, recreational and home - have remained distinctly separate. For the vast majority, it was considered ideal to divide our 16 hour day equally into these three areas. However due to the mobility of technology in our time-hungry culture, the time we spend in these three areas merges and blurs.


Much of the average worker’s workday is spent commuting between home and the office due to the greater separation between the two, caused by urban sprawl. By finding areas more convenient than the office for work, commute time can be reduced, which allows more time to be used for productive work and allows a greater flexibility in time management.

As workers now are able to check their emails whilst waiting in line for their cup of coffee, or while travelling on public transport, our work hours are no longer limited to the confines of the office. This opens up many possibilities for the future of work.

Pas t

t s a P


Recreation FUTURE

Pa st

Generational Change



BEYOND THE THIRD WORKPLACE The opportunity for an alternative workplace, if broken down has two main aspects:




Communal changes are taking place worldwide. A global trend of urbanisation is creating cities of higher density than ever before. The people within these cities are also now exposed to technologies that now allow a mobile lifestyle. The coupling of urbanisation and technological advancements is changing the world we live in and the way that urban areas need to function.

Personal Personal changes to an individual’s routine and attitude to work need to occur to promote higher levels of efficiency. A greater understanding of the needs people have in order to work: not only physical but also psychological, can enhance levels of efficiency in our time-hungry culture. The way we design a working environment and manipulate individual’s routines can have large impacts upon the way people work and their level of efficiency in the workplace. The way the vast majority of the working population works - at an individual workstation, daily - seems to rarely be the most effective. A standardised workstation lacks the attention and variation that individuals of a wide spectrum of occupations require to perform their work activities to their maximum potential. Just as work tasks vary from worker to worker, so do their spatial needs. As each worker is unique, their workspaces should be varied on a needs basis. This workstation also does not accommodate for the large percentage of daily work activities that involve collaboration.

Looking forward we need to find a system of work that responds to both communal and personal changes. Recently, a new way of thinking has been manifested in many workplaces which provides an idea of current trends and the possible workplaces of the future. The new way of thinking amongst many workplaces stems from the realisation that one workstation for all daily work activities may not be practical as the station may be unsuited to the task. As a result, we are now moving towards workplaces which are taskdriven in their design. This is called Activity Based Work.

Communal Considerations

Personal Considerations



Collaboration Involuntary distractions

Flexibility Temporary work

Beyond the Third Workplace

Working hours Availability of space Stress Confidence

21 Generational Change

Urban density increasing

Work life balance

Workplace Evolution By offering choice, adaptability & mobility ABW appeals to a majority of the working population...


Activity Based Working (ABW), is an ideology that has received much publicity and attention in the last few years. ABW embraces changing habits and attitudes within the workplace and is definitely a step in the right direction of the look of future office spaces.


It offers an ‘unhinging’ from the traditional workstation with no permanent individual workspace. The emphasis is on collaboration. Veldhoen and Co, the founder of the ABW philosophy, describes this as a behavioural, physical and virtual change and claims that ABW can save approximately 25% of office space. By offering choice, adaptability and mobility, ABW appeals to a majority of the working population. A change in management style and performance measurement is required for the switch from traditional offices to ABW. This system may not be suitable for all commercial sectors. From most accounts however, those companies that have seen and responded to this shift support its widespread adoption as a positive change in workplace practice.10

The adoption of ABW in workspaces demonstrates a change in attitude where choice is increased and collaboration is encouraged. Smartphones and other mobile devices have also led workers to be untied from their personal computer and permanent work desk, giving users greater choice of their work space. Additionally, the permanent work desk becomes more and more infeasible with the increased density in cities. With these current trends, an assumption can be made that office spaces in 2050 will be more collaborative spaces. Where will private work take place in the future? How can we change the urban planning of our cities to maximise efficiency? What’s our next big step?

23 Generational Change

Activity Based Work is being dubbed as the next step in evolution for the workplace


Reworking The City Our time-hungry culture demands that we spend our working hours in the most efficient way possible and for a vast majority, this occurs within the city. It is time to re-consider if the city is working to its maximum potential in order to support a more convenient and efficient future.


A social matrix


A city plan consisting of ‘20 minute nodes’ reduces the environmental/health impacts... and increases access to facilities.


“Cities promote a diversity of social, cultural, and economic exchanges. The design of streets determines both the diversity and efficiency with which these exchanges can be transacted.” Engwicht 1999 11

Before the invention of the car, cities were organically developed with series of smaller communities based on what could be accessed locally. This produced self-sufficient communities which had a span of an approximate twenty minute walk. With the recent reduction in individual vehicular use amongst cities and a greater reliance on public transport, the pedestrian use of the city becomes the main form of commute. The CBD has the potential to become localised again and return to spaces of accessibility optimised for the pedestrian. A city plan consisting of ‘20-minute nodes’ reduces the environmental/health impacts of vehicular use by promoting foot travel and the ease of public transport as a means of travel. This will encourage the creation and usage of more public/shared space. It also increases the access to facilities for the entire population, evenly distributing the population amongst the city.12

27 Reworking the City

spontaneous access The majority of journeys are within a short walk...


As the population within cities continues to increase, it is important that our cities are working more efficiently. Commuting can be minimalised through the development of self-sufficient towns, where the majority of journeys are within a short walk.


This shift would lessen the necessity for vehicular travel in daily life and reposition pedestrian and people-powered modes of transport (such as cycling) as the core methods of movement. While each node will be designed to be, for the most part self sufficient, inter-nodal travel will still be required. To enable maximum efficiency of time, resources and space, public transport will be consolidated into one central mode. If, for example, a city relied entirely on a train/metro system, all infrastructural transport resources could be concentrated to produce an excellent system. This central link between nodes further reduces the need for vehicular transport and further encourages a pedestrian-based city.

“We humans are pedestrians, walking animals. Just as fish need to swim, birds to fly, zebras to run, we need to walk. Humane cities need to be made for walking. We also like to see people, to be with people. It has been found that people prefer park benches where more people walk by.â€? PeĂąalosa 2004 13

29 Reworking the City

Activity Zones Form based zoning encourages grouping activities together... There are two types of zoning in urban development: Separate Use Zoning and Form Based Zoning.


Separate Use Zoning Separate Use Zoning refers to instances where the ingredients of the city are collectively grouped and different building types remain separate over the landscape. In Separate Use Zoning, the streets don’t tell a story, but are only used for circulation purposes.

Form Based Zoning Form Based Zoning refers to a variety of building types including mixed use buildings. It encourages a system where different aspects of society are grouped in close proximity to one another opposed to the intentional separation of them. Form Based Zoning encourages greater interaction on the streets by bringing different zones together and encouraging the pedestrian activity across the city.14

30 Due to the adoption of individual vehicular use amongst cities, Separate Use Zoning was established as a way of simplifying facilities with large roads connecting the different areas. This creates a reliance on vehicular use which is detrimental to the successful growth of urban environments. A move back to the twenty minute towns supports the shift to Form Based Zoning in cities.

Separate Use Zoning

31 Reworking the City

Form Based Zoning


Neighbourhood Nodes The growth of 20 minute nodes involves the development of self-sufficient facilities and infrastructure within this proximity. As these places develop, the independence of each node will organically strengthen. This idea of neighbourhood relationships is something that has been lost as cities have continued to grow and sprawl. When these relationships are present, they result in a stronger urban fabric.



Activated Streetscapes

Greenspace + Urban Parks

Each Node Should Have



Agile Built Environment + Offices

+ Accommodation

+ Town Halls

+ Recreational areas

+ Plazas & Squares

+ Spiritual centres

+ Restaurants, cafĂŠs, bars

+ Bicycles + Forms of public transport

33 Reworking the City




Expanded communal spaces have the potential to become a workplace alternative.


The large amount of road and car related infrastructure accounts for a significant percentage of our city. The car culture that has developed over the last 50 years has created an unsustainable pattern of car usage within cities. Vehicular spaces often surround cultural centres, assuming prime position and valuable city space. By reclaiming the land used for vehicular access and returning it to pedestrian use, the city can be restored to a cultural, social and economic centre that instils its users with a sense of pride and ownership.

The move away from vehicular access amongst cities allows for communal spaces within dense, urban centres. With the mobility of technology, these spaces have the potential to become informal workspaces. These public spaces could become an alternative to the office; a workplace where individuals can work in the freedom of the public space.

35 Reworking the City


Activated Streetscapes The street can be the centre of cultural and commercial interaction.


There are several universal fundamental aspects that outline an individual’s interaction with the street environment. Understanding this relationship means that we can alter the make up of the street to better the city.


By changing the street, the way someone interacts and views the city they inhabit is drastically altered. Around the world cities such as Paris, Lisbon and Vienna, posses streets that successfully capture the urban culture of their city. The key to these streets is that they were designed for people, not cars. Changing the streets to accommodate pedestrians creates an environment that is easily navigable and enjoyable.

The street has the potential to be the centre of urban life; to be taken from a mere passage of circulation to a place of social, cultural and commercial interaction that defines its users experience of the urban fabric.

Six Keys to a Successful Street

Generous Footpaths

Pedestrian Lighting



Active Frontages

Cultural events

37 Reworking the City


Agile Built Environment Future working environment will be largely based outside the traditional office...

Office Space


These incidental spaces create new possibilities for the workplace. Working spaces on-the-go maximise the possible efficiency and comfort of each worker by being adaptable spaces, duplicated in a variety of locations. These spaces are designed to be predominantly used for private work, but can be adapted for collaborative working. These workstations and booths provide casual meeting spaces and private spaces both indoor and outdoor. These spaces should be made adaptable in order to maximise efficiency and physical and mental comfort through aspects such as: + colour

+ acoustics

+ lighting

+ privacy/territoriality

+ furniture

+ temperature

Semi Private

+ texture



In the future we propose that the working environment will be largely based outside of the office in two styles of spaces. The Central Hub: a shared working environment, and Breakout Spaces: individual workplaces spread throughout the public realm. One of the major failings of the traditional office is its assumption that a private, stationary workstation is suitable for the completion of all work tasks. Providing environments that allow a high level of comfort and control, combined with adaptable furniture, allow workers to transition seamlessly between levels of privacy, formality and complete a variety of tasks. Together, the Central Hub and Breakout Spaces will replace the daily role of the office for a large portion of the working population by catering for a fuller spectrum of working modes in a more convenient and comfortable location.



39 Reworking the City


embodied within the city a proposition of an urban lifestyle for 2050 The fast-paced churn of the city encourages a more extreme version of form-based zoning and calls for a reconsideration of the use of positive and negative space. With the density of cities on the rise, the productive use of space becomes increasingly important.


Revolutionary city


The twenty minute town provides the opportunity for a more efficient workspace

Form based zoning is central to the future success of urban environments. This reassembly of the city will help facilitate the pragmatic functionality of the twenty minute town and allow the workplace to develop into a more efficient and practical version of what it is today. This reassembly also encourages a high level of adaptability, modularity and density, all of which are embraced by projected future urban trends. Another positive by-product of interspersing of zones is a city that is ‘alive’ with activity outside of traditional working hours.






Light Industry

43 Embodied Within the City


Spaces In-between


The game Tetris invites the player to, using numerous basic building blocks, play with the negative space and positive construction. The aim of the game is to tessellate the blocks in the most efficient way - to delve into any unused space and maximise the use of these spaces.


In reality, negative space is not considered as wasteful as in the game. However, this game opens our minds into the possibilities of maximising each space. This does not equate to the removal of any negative space, but merely greater control over negative and positive construction.

On a small scale, this idea can be used in the design of individual work spaces, by removing unused space and allowing another user to occupy this space. This idea can then be repeated at larger scales to accommodate for the growing population in urban cities.

45 Embodied Within the City

Activity Based Living Activity Based Living promotes a greater level of adaptability within the 20 minute neighbourhood nodes.


As working and learning becomes increasingly activity based and our use of time becomes more fluid, there is potential for the Activity Based Working model to be expanded into ‘Activity Based Living.’


As the pace of living and rate of change increases, each building no longer needs to be a single envelope for various activities. Instead, modular blocks that are designed for specific activities tessellate to create ‘buildings’. In this sense, the built environment mimics the integration of activities in the lives of city dwellers. In doing so, not only is greater efficiency achieved in terms of space, but also in the execution of a wide variety of life tasks. If our lives are no longer distinctly separated in terms of activity, why should the physical assembly of our cities be?

This extreme version of Form Based Zoning allows for the densification of cities, greater levels of adaptability and closer proximities of homes, offices and recreational areas. This allows for a city composed of multiple selfsustainable 20 minute nodes, through a greater manipulation of positive and negative construction.

47 Embodied Within the City


Revolutionary City


49 Embodied Within the City

The Tetris idea can be used as add-ons to existing buildings, offering a more temporary space than the existing building provides. As this idea spreads, entire building sites may be occupied by these blocks, allowing complete manipulation of positive and negative construction. The churn of the city requires a fast-paced lifestyle from its occupants and this becomes more possible with the control these basic building blocks offer.


reworking the workplace The contemporary daily commute to and from an office could be considered a thing of the past with new workplaces at more convenient locations. Any time spent dedicated to work without producing work should be treated as time wasted.


the Head office

the Central Hub

Breakout Spaces

New Workspace nodes


The workplace of the future is made up of three spaces...


The workplace of the future we propose is made up of three spaces outside of the home and commute. These are the office, the Central Hub and Breakout Spaces. When used together the spaces create a better and more efficient working environment.

the Head office The shift away from a single office environment for a company will become more explicit. The office will be predominantly used as a centre-point for the company for collaborative work and to maintain a sense of corporate identity.

the Central Hub With work no longer needing to be contained within the office, a need for more convenient work spaces emerges. The Central Hub is a space for small collaborative groups and private work and one can be found within each of the twenty minute nodes of the CBD. With an efficient working environment in walkable distance to everyone’s home, commute time is minimised.

Breakout Spaces With many people preferring to work outside of a traditional office, Breakout Spaces provide the efficiency and comfort of the Central Hub or office but are located throughout the public realm in spaces such as libraries, cafés and restaurants. These spaces provide a level of informality and greater privacy, in addition to minimising commute time.

A large percentage of the office worker’s workday will be spent away from their individual desks. Whilst ABW is a step in the right direction, there will no longer be a reason to commute to and from the office daily to work individually. While working at home may be convenient, there are many distractions within the house and many workers want to keep work and home separate. This is where the two new spaces fit in.

Breakout Spaces

53 Reworking the Workplace

Head office

Central Hub

New Head Office


Until recently, the office environment has been the centre of work for many workers in the commercial world. However, the future of ‘work’ may look very different and not be confined to the envelope of the office building.


We believe, that by 2050, the office will be almost an entirely collaborative space. The office will become a meeting place, and outside of this, work can be mainly performed at a location convenient to each employee. The office, Central Hub and Breakout Spaces work interdependently, allowing work to be done more efficiently and conveniently. Advancements in social networking will allow great connectivity in inter-employee relationships as well as employee-employer relationships making geographical distance of little concern. The primary roles of the head office will be to function as a centre-point for collaborative work and to maintain its corporate identity.

55 Reworking the Workplace


Deconstructed Workplaces


the Central Hub Access to the facilities of the Central Hubs would be based on a membership or similar program. Businesses who no longer wish to pay rent for individual desk space can consolidate their real estate and invest in these systems for their employees to work at on a day to day basis. A membership could cover specific locations or all locations and would be significantly cheaper than the cost of maintaining an office with permanent work desks for all employees. We envision subscribers to these systems would be small, medium or large sized firms whose commercial sector relies heavily on work that has the capability of being achieved on a portable device and where geographical location is of little importance.


The Breakout Spaces will be sections of the public realm which have been uniquely equipped for effective individual work. As such, these spaces are not limited to those of the workforce, but also target school and university students, leading to an easier transition into the workforce. In the same way, access would be linked to a membership with the Central Hub use. However, those without a membership could also use these spaces on a single use basis as well as an exclusive membership to Breakout Spaces. The student population would not have access to the main Hubs.

Reworking the Workplace

Breakout Spaces


the Central Hub


Assembly of spaces

59 Reworking the Workplace

While offices lose a large portion of their individual nature, these spaces will house a variety of collaborative spaces. With one hub in each ‘20 Minute Town’, these hubs will always be commute-friendly and offering a variety of work spaces to suit individual style and needs. Thus, workplace efficiency will be maximised on a day to day level.

the Central Hub The Central Hub is made up of a series of spaces, using Dunbar’s Number of 150 workers as a base modular system that can be repeated to best accommodate the working population.15


Each ‘hub’ will be made up of 4 types of spaces ranging in levels of privacy. On one end of the spectrum, private meeting rooms of varying sizes house confidential work and/or conversations. On the other end are communal, shared meeting spaces. This variety of spaces allows workers to control their working surroundings in order to maximise their comfort and efficiency. The relationships between these spaces are designed to encourage interaction within the social spaces and encourage concentration with private spaces. Together, these spaces create a spectrum of working environments which will create the day to day work spaces of 2050.


Private Meeting Rooms Individual Working Areas Semi-Private Working Areas Collaborative Zones

Workplace Zones

61 Reworking the Workplace

Private Zones

Semi-Private Zones

Communal Zones

the Central Hub


Considering arrangements of the 150 person spaces, different forms and relationships start to emerge, shaped by different factors. This provides an opportunity for diversity in the Central Hub’s form to be shaped by its environment, so it can fit into a variety of envelopes and structural footprints. This example illustrates an arrangement with a collaborative core. It is based around two public pedestrian access points, breaking the space into four distinct areas. The central communal zone serves as the focal point and link between areas.


These same design concepts can be manipulated to fit into varying contexts. The above diagrams demonstrate that different organisations of these same spaces can hold true to the original ideas and relationships. This adaptability allows these workplaces to be located throughout the city. Their malleability also allows them to be repeated side by side in a modular configuration, to allow larger workplaces in locations that demand a higher capacity. These spaces are will form an essential part of the workplace of the future, designed to fit with the rapidly changing nature of the urban environment.




small groups

small groups



private meeting

A Central Hub with spaces spread over vertical levels. The colours depict the different styles of working zones.

private meeting

Reworking the Workplace


the Central Hub


A wide variation in spaces allows occupants to have greater choice over their work space. Greater transitional space from private to public areas accommodates for different levels of collaborative work and various levels of formality.


Many of the spaces are multi-functional, for example furniture that doubles as a chair and a desk. This addresses the human need for territoriality: providing users with a feeling of ownership over their area of use. As a result, users feel more comfortable. By allowing users to have control over their space, their minds are left free of unwanted conditions, and able to focus on their work.

Transitional spaces

65 Reworking the Workplace


the Central Hub


Outdoor zones The informal, relaxed nature of the Central Hub encourages workers of varying occupations to come together for small group collaboration or individual work.

67 Reworking the Workplace


Breakout Spaces


Breakout Spaces

Active Streetscape

69 Reworking the Workplace

Breakout spaces are what take this system forward. They allow the working environment to lose the boundaries of office walls and the envelope of buildings. By activating the public realm into spaces that equip the individual to work efficiently, they are given greater choice and adaptability over their environment. The activity of work is then no longer limited to a time frame or a geographical location, becoming more convenient and available to the individual at all times. These spaces encourage individuals to utilise the rapidly changing technology that will continue to revolutionise the efficiency of work practice into the future.

Breakout Spaces WHAT The Breakout Spaces are a variety of designed informal spaces that can be manipulated by the user to maximise productivity.



These informal spaces can be found within, but not limited to, public spaces such as cafĂŠs, malls and bars. They can also be found in outdoor areas such as recreational parks.


The number of Breakout Spaces within each node in the city can continue to increase as required.

THE SPACES Breakout spaces provide a smaller scale, more private and informal alternative to the Central Hub.

COMMERCIAL USE Breakout spaces are attractive to owners of cafĂŠs, bars, malls and hotels as they are inviting to the public and encourage users to use their facilities/products.

Spaces throughout the building

71 Reworking the Workplace

Breakout Spaces In order to accommodate for a wide scope of users, the furniture within Breakout Spaces require great variation.


Here is an example of one type of furniture which allows users to customise the space according to their activity’s needs:


The angled backrest provides a sense of safety and enclosure for individual work. A soft malleable base is used to adjust to the user accordingly. The multi-purpose armrests can be swivelled around to become small desks. Underneath the seat, space for temporary storage can be found and a possible footrest can be lifted.

The freedom that the presence of Breakout Spaces allows is to work efficiently anywhere. They will provide an equal level of individual space and technological access as an individuals normal working environment.

Individual Spaces

73 Reworking the Workplace

Breakout Spaces Breakout spaces allow individuals to work efficiently almost anywhere.


These spaces will provide the privacy and technological access that successful individual work requires. Users of these spaces are also able to manipulate the space, making each space their own for their temporary work session. These booths are designed with adaptable height, temperature, enclosure and lighting and can easily transform into a collaborative space for a few users.


These blocks can tessellate to create new spaces and can be used as a seat or desk. They provide a more informal way of working and allow collaboration or individual work.

These blocks double as a seat or a desk and slide to provide infinite combinations and different sized blocks.

the Freedom of Choice

75 These desks have seats that slide out, providing a compact and easily manipulated space. They can be combined or pulled apart for different purposes and allow for infinite arrangements.

These individual desks are designed to tessellate to allow collaboration but also designed to be pushed against a wall for more private work.

Reworking the Workplace

These chairs/lounges are designed for individual use. Users can manipulate the shape of each one to suit their ergonomics and the activity at hand.


Breakout Spaces

These sliding panels attached to a rotatable wall can double as a seat or a desk and can be used individually or collectively. This provides choice for the individual and flexibility.


These undercover areas are ideal for small groups collaborating informally. These spaces can be indoors or outdoors and users can manipulate height, enclosure, temperature & lighting.

These egg-shaped spaces are designed for individual work, and can be moulded to any shaped egg desired, providing adaptability in levels of enclosure, light, temperature and height.

the Freedom of Choice

77 These spaces have sliding screens which allow multiple levels of privacy. Inside, temperature, lighting, enclosure and height of the desk/chair can be controlled.

Breakout spaces allow individuals to work efficiently almost anywhere. These spaces will provide the privacy and technological access that successful individual work requires. Users of these spaces are also able to manipulate the space, making each space their own for their temporary work session. These spaces create more intimate spaces for workers who want to retreat into a more private space to work informally and at leisure. Individual lighting, temperature can be manipulated.

Reworking the Workplace

These blocks have slidable desks/ chairs and can be placed against walls for more private use, or rolled into the open to encourage collaborative work.


Activity Based Living


Activity Based Living allows Breakout Spaces and the Central Hub to fit in seamlessly. A transition to activity based spaces encourages form to follow function.

79 Reworking the Workplace

Activity Based Living


Off to work


Jack leaves Jane working in the cafe and walks to his office to meet with his team.

Jack finds a breakout space within a bookstore. He likes it as it is informal, quiet and has little interruptions. But soon, Jack realises there are things he forgot to ask a team member, John.

Morning Routine After completing their morning routine, Jack and Jane leave their apartment and go to the cafe under their apartment for breakfast.






The three future workplaces: the office, the Central Hub and Breakout Spaces allow for greater convenience and flexibility to a worker’s daily routine. Let’s explore the possibilities through Jack’s day. Jack lives with his girlfriend, Jane. He likes long walks on the beach and spending time with his girlfriend and their friends.

IN THE OFFICE Jack’s team meet for roughly an hour to discuss their project. When they are done, they break off to do individual work.

A day in the life...





Jack works in a medium sized architecture firm of approximately 60 people. His work requires him to do a lot of collaborative work but a large amount of his working day is spent in solitude, designing or simply drawing.

CENTRAL HUB Jack and John walk 5 minutes to the Hub. They finish their discussion and when they’re done, John continues his private work in the hub.


Dinner & drinks

Jack and John have a pub lunch together. When they finish, they have not finished discussing what was needed as they were too busy discussing John’s recent trip to Thailand.

Jane’s friend asks their group of friends to come out to have dinner and drinks. They finish their work at home and then it’s time to unwind!

Home time It’s not yet 5:00pm, but Jack can now continue his work in isolation. He calls Jane who is finishing her work day from home. Jack decides to go home they both finish their workdays from home.

Reworking the Workplace


Beyond the third workplace


The Tetris idea, which allows for greater control over used and unused space, may dictate the form and multiple functions of a building or envelope.


This allows for a rapid and more frequent change through a more frequent evaluation of unused spaces within urban cities. When only several blocks become redundant, they may be taken out, leaving the remaining blocks intact and may be replaced with other blocks of similar or varying forms.

83 Reworking the Workplace



The Envision team would like to thank the following people for the time spent assisting in an understanding of the current workplace practices and environments. Your contribution to the this publication is greatly appreciated. We would also like to pay special thanks to our mentors at NBRS+PARTNERS - Andrew Duffin, James Ward & Andrew Leuchars who helped us realise the potential of the Third Workplace Environment and develop a transformational commercial system.

Alecia Baker David Croston Daina Cunningham Lisa George

Russell Harding Peter Hasko Anthony Henry Mark McCrindle

Tim Sims Antoinette Trimble Charlie Voyagis Mike Whiting

Editors: Jessica Mees Tiffany Liew


William Hasko and Veronica Ho // ENVISION Research Team 2012-13

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NBRS+PARTNERS ENVISION 2013: William Hasko & Veronica Ho Level 3, 4 Glen Street, Milsons Point NSW 2061 Australia T: 61 2 9922 2344 E W : Š NBRS+PARTNERS 2013

2050 Beyond the Third Workplace  

2050 Beyond the Third Workplace (2013) seeks to discover how the way we work can fit with our changing urban landscape and responds by propo...

2050 Beyond the Third Workplace  

2050 Beyond the Third Workplace (2013) seeks to discover how the way we work can fit with our changing urban landscape and responds by propo...