The office : an analysis of the evolution of a workplace
Author(s)Gatter, Linda Stewart
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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Much of the historical discussion concerning the office building has operated at the level of image . In this reading architects, faced with specific program requirements and technical possibilities, adopt a language for the expression of the facade which refers to certain ideas considered to be important - whether these relate to structural expression or historical allusion. In the process the assumption is made that the planning of the interior space of the office is the solution of a rational equation whose terms are well understood. While issues like economy and flexibility have been the explicit basis for a rationalized approach to planning, these issues have often been interpreted in ways that produce a homogeneity and rigidity that does not have any real basis in the program of the office . At its most general level, the office presents us with an environment in which individuals work together in concert with a larger group . This relationship - of the individual to the collective - presents a range of conflicts between territory and needs for communication that must be understood if the physical organization of space is to respond to the nature of the institution served. An analysis of the development of the office which evaluates the degree to which this relationship has been considered and its manner of expression allows us to approach the problem of the design of the office with a critical perspective . A discussion of the development of the typical office before and after World War Two is combined with an analysis of two office buildings; Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building of 1904 and Herman Hertzberger's Central Beheer of 1972. While the typical office responded to contemporary assumptions about the important determinants of spatial organization in the workplace, often sacrificing territoriality and variety to perceived needs for order and economy, the two buildings chosen as case studies are exceptional to the degree that their organization was developed, in large part, from a more conscious concern on the part of the architect for the social relationships which characterize the work environment.
Thesis (M.Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1982.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCH.Includes bibliographies.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology