The architecture firm Gensler has created an application with which companies can reuse their rooms.
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In 1931, in the middle of the polio epidemic, the Swiss architect Le Corbusier ended his famous Villa Savoye on the outskirts of Paris. When you enter the building, the first thing you see is a free-standing ceramic sink. Todd Heiser has been thinking a lot about this sink lately.
“It encouraged people to have good hygiene,” he says. “After this pandemic, we will likely see a new approach to zoning and what happens when we enter a room.”
Heiser is co-managing director of Gensler’s Chicago office, a global architecture firm that has developed a data-driven tool called ReRun that enables companies to redesign their offices to accommodate new patterns of social distance based on their individual space and size and advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO.
“Depending on what your space can take up, you may only want to bring 25% of the people back to the office,” says Heiser. However, capacity is not the only problem. Some customers are concerned about open floor plans, while others fear closed spaces – door handles have become a new enemy.
Courtesy of Gensler
“We have heard that many of our users do not want as many doors in the rooms,” says Heiser. “So we actually create something that is a mixture of office and work place. We call it “officle”. Or we take out the doors of a conference room and use it as an additional work area.
Heiser imagines a future that includes facial recognition technology for contactless access to work areas and expects renewed demand for automatic doors, intuitive elevator systems and even infrared temperature sensors.
They know that remote working will be an important part of our corporate culture in the future, but they are mostly optimistic about the future of the office and the way employees are there.
“This pandemic has created a new sense of essentialism,” he says. “We appreciated the power of human connection and asked what we really need. Why do we have to go to an office? We’ll probably find that we don’t need some of the things that we think we did. “