AJ/CROWN ESTATE FUTURE OFFICE
Working life is changing. No longer tied down by the necessity to be fixed to a single desk, a single employer or even a single city, work is becoming faster, more agile and more mobile. So what does this freelance economy mean to the office space of the future?
The proposal seeks to combine the sectors of retail, leisure and work into one entity. A series of brands and franchises would occupy the high street, much like they do now. However, rather than the brand’s services or products being the only tradable commodity, the space itself can be sold to the user.
Companies hire sections of space, (like a department store), which is rented to workers on hourly/weekly or monthly tariffs, providing services and products to their loyal customers. A Starbucks might offer a coffee with two hours of workspace. A gym might offer free lunchtime classes with one month’s gym/work membership. Rather than the conventional tenant-landlord model a system emerges which would allow for a number of services to be provided within a single space, where freelance workers and small businesses can rent space without the nuisances attached to long term rent. A series of Apps would provide a new form of social network on which you could offer/accept work contracts, find/pay for workspaces and gain loyalty points.
The new typology becomes a regenerative tool for retail areas like the highstreet, which are currently losing out to internet commerce. The architectural quality of a street can be maintained by a company’s need to attract custom, much like shops do today. The public realm is allowed to expand beyond the shop front of a high-street building, with franchises occupying all floors. In a rapidly advancing world our new office typology is more accessible, more adaptable and more transient.