2010-11-04

Office Historical and Typological Studies

Historical and Typological Analysis
    An architectural project begins with language, and the language of this project is office or a workplace. As a beginning of the project, historical and existing office typology is studied to examine underlying ideas. The following three types of common office planning were studied and analyzed in terms of principle, strength and thread.

    In 1960, during post-war period and industrial revolution, the American came out with the idea of open plan which is based on a so called ‘quickborn’ method to increase the productivity of the office. However, issues such as occupant’s privacy and ability to access to natural daylight in deep plan arrised.

    In 1970, world-known architect and remarkable thinker Herman Hertzberger came out with the idea of self-regulated office space based on the principle of ramified-structure where it induces a self-reproductive and communal workplace. Herman Hertzberger stressed the importance of face to face meeting in a workplace, for instance, the idea of knowing each other by simply seeing or hearing each among work group in an office help increases the level of community in a workplace.

    In the period of 1975-1980, idea of partitioning open plan, combi or group office is highly promoted. The idea which is based on a so called action office serves to increase the level of privacy of each work group, but however, issues such as sound insulation and isolated spaces occurred.
   
    In 2004, a post-evaluation research is conducted in Malaysia to study the issues of workplace that most Malaysian faced in Malaysia. As a result, the need of natural daylight, spatial quality and acoustic were identified.

    Typological studies and post-evaluation has lead to a broader idea in inquiring the spatial and environmental needs of office occupant. Back in 25BC Vitruvius had the idea of human comfort within spaces which is in certain proportion in dimension. Christopher Alexander in 1977 then stressed the importance of ceiling height variety as oppose to human’s well being, and it is the relation of different volume in spaces that would suggest different levels of publicity and intimacy to the occupant.

    In summary, it is a common sense different activities would require a different environment. Levels of publicity may be determine by the levels of echo the room would be able to produce, for instance, a comparison between a conversation between individuals inside a small lift and one which is occurred in a doubled-volume hotel lobby. Plus, this would also mean that a ceiling variety may suggest different levels of intimacy, and the physical distance between individuals may distinguish their levels of privacy.

Office Massing Typological Studies
    Current common office massing types is categorized into three types which is perceived as problematic when they are analyzed in terms of spatial sustainability and social friendliness between the private workgroup and the public, and among the private work group themselves.

    The first type private office and public area is separated into two zones. Private work group being on top levels while the public being on lower level. Office work group works average eight hours per day while public retail opens twelve hours averagely per day or more. So if most of the time the spaces that people occupy and use is on the lower level, what happens to the spaces in the upper levels?

    The second office type suggests no public realms and no connectivity to the public. Transportations are mostly vertical lift core which contribute no social friendliness to the occupant.

    Third office massing type is similar to the second one in terms of program. Most of the units or departments in these three types of office are separated one, and there are less interaction among departments as they are in different floor levels. The only common spaces that allow them to interact with each other are spaces like lift and reception lobby.