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Working Ahead: Office Designs for 2020


By Jill M. Speegle

More items for Color + Design

So long, cubicles! Hello, hackable buildings and b(Hives)!

The high-performance office buildings of the future will surely include advanced features, materials, and technologies that will enable employees to perform with greater flexibility.

Miller Hull Partnership

 The Miller Hull Partnership

Miller Hull’s winning concept represents “a building that becomes a part of an agile, adaptable business machine—somewhere between a hands-on community and the raw edge of technology.”

“Office design is changing rapidly, and our industry needs to position itself ahead of the curve,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, president and CEO of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Design Competition: Office of 2020

Earlier this year, the organization invited design firms across the country to submit concepts of what an office may look like in 2020.

The winners of inaugural competition included some big names:

• Gensler, Los Angeles, CA

• Hickok Cole Architects, Washington D.C.

• The Miller Hull Partnership, Seattle, WA

• Pickard Chilton, New Haven, CT     

Flexible Workplace

The winning submissions identified several common themes that are expected to drive change in workplace design.

The biggest driver: An increase in personal technology, which has led to an increase in telework, according to NAIOP.

 The office of the future will provide an array of flexible workspaces.

 Pickard Chilton

The office of the future will provide an array of flexible workspaces.

“Employees are becoming more and more capable of completing service and information-based tasks wherever they choose,” NAIOP noted. “The advantage of the office of the future is that it will provide an array of flexible workspaces.”

Winning Designs

Below are some short descriptions of the winning office concepts, courtesy of NAIOP.

Gensler: Gensler’s concept is a “hackable” building, which the firm defines as “an existing structure that has been updated beyond recognition and that incorporates a diverse mix of multiple uses within a building.”

According to Gensler, “Hacking is a culture, not a technology. We believe it represents the most dynamic, pragmatic and sustainable vision for the future of office buildings and the future of work.”

Hickok Cole Architects: According to Hickok Cole Architects’ winning submission, “No one is tied to a desk, and there are ample opportunities for diverse work environments, such as lounge work areas, communal tables, benching areas, hive configurations, individual work stations, and shared office amenities.”

The office building of the future must accommodate employers seeking multiple, smaller, office locations. “This trend will not mean an overall decline in office demand, but will result in a reduction of the average size of any individual office location,” the firm said.

The Miller Hull Partnership: The Miller Hull Partnership’s b(HIVE) concept represents “a building that becomes a part of an agile, adaptable business machine—somewhere between a hands-on community and the raw edge of technology.”

 Office buildings of the future will be open spaces that are fast and inexpensive to build, according to Miller Hull’s vision.

 The Miller Hull Partnership

Office buildings of the future will be open spaces that are fast and inexpensive to build, according to Miller Hull’s vision.

The firm’s vision includes: 1) flexible, open space that is fast and inexpensive to build; 2) collaboration space that is carefully customized for tenants and easy to reconfigure; and 3) retail space on the ground floor with a diverse mix of uses.

Pickard Chilton: Pickard Chilton’s approach identifies three distinct principles.

1) Human qualities: A healthy workplace that is conducive to the productivity and well-being of employees, with abundant natural light, access to fresh air, customizable work areas, and greater collaboration spaces.

2) Business objectives: Innovative design and construction, efficient floor plates and multipurpose spaces support the owner’s business objectives.

3) Sustainability: An advanced system monitor to track, measure and display data about building performance to allow potential tenants to make informed decisions about their workplace and enable a high-performance building to stand out within a highly competitive real estate market.

Honorable mentions for the design competition included CEI Architecture, KGD Architecture, RSP Architects and Ware Malcomb.

The winners presented their concept plans Oct. 24, 2012, at Development ’12: The Annual Meeting for Commercial Real Estate in Washington, D.C.


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



Tagged categories: Architects; Color; Commercial Buildings; Commercial Construction; Interior design

Comment from Dotty Drews, (11/19/2012, 12:01 PM)

Hi, how are you? I just sign-up in this community. My name is Dotty. :)

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