Future Work Environments

Martin Henn
Partner, Design Director
HENN, Berlin

Nothing signaled the dynamism of the 20th-century economy more than the skyline of its cities. As Taylorism spread across the globe, the administrative branches of industry grew enormously throughout the western world. At the time, the basic shape of most skyscrapers comprised a standardized floor plan with repeated office units. But over the past century, our societies have changed from a Taylorist mode of production to a knowledge-based network model; thus, the way we work has changed radically compared to the world before the advent of the computer.

Today’s workplace is characterized less by hierarchy and management control, and more by the self-employed mindset of each employee. Shared and communal spaces allow for interaction and collaboration. High visual connectivity is key to foster communication and innovation. But, if you look at the architecture of tall buildings today, not too much has changed from early prototypical modernist examples. The majority of high-rise buildings are a series of stacked slabs with a central core devoid of any spatial qualities. With the help of some of our most recent projects, I would like to show the potentials of more open and porous spatial structures which aim to compliment today’s work mode end ethic.

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