Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | No Comment

I’ve been thinking a bit about the future of the university, and it seems to me that a new model may be emerging, one that has something of the traditional sanctuary of a place of learning, but that innovatively engages communities, both local and international. There will, of course, have to be those preserves where students and teachers can contemplate their experience and learn together, but there must also be what, for the moment, one might think of as an edge zone where interactions of many kinds might take place.

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Innovative Workplace Design starts with Value Proposition

Submitted by on October 28, 2011 – 7:44 pmNo Comment

By Brian and Dan Anderson

During the course of our workplace research and design work we have found that effective workplaces share common attributes. They provide a range of work settings, from open shared spaces to more private personal spaces.  Optimally their arrangement allows for easy transitions from collaborative team work to focused, uninterrupted work. We have found that the overall effectiveness of work was improved by visual connectivity allowing for a quick assessment of the presence and availability of coworkers for interaction.

We found this to be well illustrated in a recently completed workplace design for a private equity client; a flexible visually open layout supported the project goal of creating different work settings with strong visual connections while maintaining acoustic privacy. The design established four linked workspaces separated by full height glass partitions. This solution provided privacy, fostered a sense of connectedness, and provided ample shared natural light throughout the office. The center workspace enables casual interactions, group discussions, and presentations. A large dedicated office supports the client’s private workspace and private meeting area. The other two work spaces support project partners, double as expansion space for additional staff support, and afford privacy for staff meetings or calls.

In addition to focusing on client value in the performance of the workplace, we brought a coordinated team approach to project implementation. Glass walls were chosen for the advantages of allowing light and visual connection but their procurement set a challenge for the project construction schedule. One glazing system chosen had the advantage of being self-supporting, with minimal need for coordination. However, the structural members were visually heavy and the product had a long lead time. The team decided on a custom fabricated alternative that aligned with the project schedule’s critical path and provided greater glass area without frames. Finish details were developed allowing for coordinated blocking support and integrated installation sequenced with ceiling and flooring installation. Overall our team approach allowed us to coordinate the design and make decisions for improving the workspace layout and to achieve greater flexibility. It also allowed us to respond effectively to unexpected issues in the field, such as modifying lighting and sprinkler locations to accommodate ductwork belonging to other tenant spaces.

In keeping with our Lean design approach, Anderson Porter Design looks at the entire project value stream for opportunities to add value and reduce waste. A pull planning session was held to define stakeholder value, to map the project value stream, and set conditions of satisfaction with the entire team; client, architect and builder. Target Value Design enabled us to align project objectives; scope, schedule and budget, early in the process. A site evaluation session with the client and builder will be held to assess the project success and consider modifications that will support ongoing workplace performance improvements.