A specific genericism: Developing spatial quality through specificity in the urban office space

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Thiermann, Anne
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Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Mitrovic, Branko
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
urban office spaces
spatial quality
social structure
Thiermann, A. (2009). A specific genericism: Developing spatial quality through specificity in the urban office space. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1402
RESEARCH QUESTION: Does architecture, in response to a specific urban office use, produce a higher quality work space than it does when responding to a generic urban office use? This proposal aims to develop spatial quality through Specificity that “Genericism” presently fails to achieve in the case of the urban office space. This idea is founded on questioning why a building type that we occupy for so much time, is less often perceived as stimulating and why the pleasure and influence of form and space is less often explored as it naturally would be in other building types. The fundamental proposed revision of the standard perception of an office design problem is to recognise the importance of social structure, in this case, of an office, and the impact it can have on architectural form. While there are many roles within a business organization a usual, though somewhat illogical response to this, is to design office spaces to be unobtrusive and extremely flexible so as to allow for all possible required role settings which results in a bland and boring spatial experience. Due to this lack of commitment to space there often seems to be something generic about most office buildings. A lack of a specific program may be the culprit that creates the poor spatial quality of these generic office buildings with non-spaces that are non-events. As a design intention, therefore, the architecture - the spatial core, stripped of all fit out – is designed to reflect the business and social structure of a specific organisation. Hopefully this refocusing of the design problem will develop a quality spatial “core” that will continue to accept change because it has a geometry that in fact a new business structure or a completely new user can take advantage of. The hypothesis is that one does not necessarily need to design a space for “anything”, a generic design or “non-space”, and therefore “nothing” in order for the building to be flexible. The resulting design is expected to establish a stronger sense of place, offer a more stimulating workspace and consequently enhance work efficiency.
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