Cultivating Workplace Well-being: A Living Office Renewal
Many contemporary tech industry office buildings are designed so that they isolate workers from nature. Exposure to nature is beneficial to human well-being, especially to social, psychological, and physical well-being. Research demonstrates that modern office building design is harmful to workers, often in measurable ways. By retrofitting a building to integrate nature into its structure, employee well-being and productivity can be improved, to the benefit of both workers and businesses. Given the potential of many existing structures, retrofitting is the most sustainable and affordable basis to work from. Additionally, connecting a site with its context by opening some of it to the public extends these influences to a business’s community. This transparency allows the features of design to cement the business’s reputation as an iconoclast of environmental sustainability. As many of the problems with office building design are caused by an isolation from nature, they can be addressed by injecting nature into the structure. This project proposes doing so by utilizing several methods of improvement: opening the structure’s envelope with operable windows, curtain walls, light wells, and balcony and patio spaces; enabling circulation of fresh air and adding light wells to improve spatial quality; creating gardens, greenhouses, and outdoor lounges to serve as attractive opportunities for green exercise; and designating spaces for focus work as well as collaborative work to improve mood and productivity. The main philosophy of this thesis is to invite nature within a structure to take advantage of the benefits nature can provide to workers while remaining environmentally conservative.
- Architecture