The end of the office?

Are we seeing the final days of the traditional American office? Yes, says DEGW co-founder and British architect Frank Duffy in the current issue of Harvard Design magazine. Specifically, Duffy argues that the tall and low office buildings prevalent in the 20th century will no longer rule the skyline in response to a number of factors. One of the most important variables? The continual rise and evolution of technology. New technology, Duffy states, has created new ways of working and, in response, new office architecture and city forms. "There is now less need for individual desk-centered space and more need for widely distributed spaces of formal and informal gathering," he writes, and goes on to add that "it is no longer useful to rely on temporal categories such as the five-day week and the eight-hour day to place boundaries on office work or measure the environmental performance of buildings. Boundaries between what is work and what is not are shifting fast. Work is spilling into even wider and more complex spatial and temporal landscapes. The consequence for architects and for everyone else involved is that the office building no longer has a monopoly on accommodating work, and thus, from both a managerial and an environmental point of view, has become a misleading and obsolescent unit of analysis."

To read more on Duffy's thoughts, click here.

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