Bringing Down the Walls
AMANDA LOPER: Looking back, one of the key trends across design is that personal space is getting smaller while shared space is getting bigger. In mixed-use residential projects, units are shrinking while common spaces are gaining prominence, and the same has happened with workplaces—cubicles and offices are things of the past. With technology, employees don't need as much space to work, and culturally, people want to be together, even when they are working alone.
KATIE CAVALLO: People want to work the way they live, which breaks down the barriers of formality in the workplace. The real-estate footprint has become smaller because spaces have become multifunctional and more open. I find people use examples of how they live or travel to describe what they prefer in a workplace.
AL: People no longer compartmentalize their lives. It's common for employees to want to work in spaces that are more attractive, and in interesting, mixed-use downtown areas that offer walkable environments. The old school thinkng that you drive up toa building in an industrial park to work in a high-walled cubicle is not appealing to younger generations. It's not that the office needs to be casual, per se, but people need to feel comfortable. It's the little touches—soft materials, natural light, plants—that blur the lines between residential and workplace design.