Real-time Architecture: Quantifying the Spatial Performance of Workplaces
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CitationAlhadidi, Suleiman. 2023. Real-time Architecture: Quantifying the Spatial Performance of Workplaces. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractThe shift from traditional 9:00 am to 5:00 pm work hours to more flexible work arrangements in white-collar knowledge-based private companies has increased the emphasis on minimizing workplace spatial footprint. While emerging evidence-based methods rely on real-time spatial technologies and utilization rate analysis to determine workplace spatial optimization strategies, existing methods frequently overlook daily, weekly, and monthly variations in occupancy. Consequently, there is a lack of effective methods for reducing spatial footprint that balance benefits for the company, employees, and environment.
The Real-Time Architecture dissertation presents a method through two studies for evaluating workplace utilization rates in real-time, using hourly peak measurements and accounting for employee interactions. This method shows significant improvements in estimating potential spatial downsizing. The first study analyzed 162,778 spaces across 115 companies. The results revealed the crucial significance of a detailed analysis of utilization rates in determining the potential for spatial reduction. The data indicated that individual spaces exhibit a higher frequency of use than collaboration spaces, contradicting the prevailing viewpoint among practitioners advocating for a greater emphasis on collaborative spaces. Furthermore, the findings challenge the assumption that adaptive designs are necessary.
The second study, which was conducted at the Panasonic headquarters in Japan, aimed to investigate the impact of workspace reduction on employee interpersonal interactions and meeting behavior in a controlled setting. Specifically, the study tested a reduction in formal meeting spaces by 79.3%, resulting in an overall decrease of 26.7% in the total workspace area. The utilization rate methodology, which was established in the first study, was utilized to evaluate the effects of workspace reduction. The study's results revealed that while the occupancy of social spaces increased significantly, the hourly utilization rate of the remaining formal meeting spaces in the open-plan environment remained the same. In other words, the formal meeting spaces were used for the same time per day as before the workspace reduction. Additionally, the duration of meetings held in the formal meeting spaces decreased, with a rise in the proportion of short meetings (30 minutes or less) and a decrease in the number of lengthy meetings (1.5 hours or more). Furthermore, teams were more inclined to utilize the meeting rooms for collaborative purposes rather than individual use.
The two studies above provide valuable insights into optimizing workplace spaces by utilizing occupancy and employee interaction data. The conclusions of these studies offer a comprehensive framework for architects and corporate real estate professionals to evaluate workplace performance and identify redundant spaces. Furthermore, to advance the understanding of the effects of spatial reduction on employee interaction behavior, a comprehensive set of de-identified datasets, including 456,451 records of interactions and the building information model of the space, extracted from the second study, has been made available for use by other researchers.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37377075