Symbiosis

The topic for third year studio is the Office of the Future. We were to conceptualize a future office in a future office building, in accordance to our visions for the future lifestyles, office cultures, and a range of projections on economic , demographic and political trends.We were given options of two sites, Oakville and downtown Toronto, two very distinct sites.

Although the small town of Oakville was a beautiful waterfront site, posing the appeal of the closely knit, walkable live-work community that many offices today are heading towards, my belief that the future office must be able to connect to a wide network of disciplines in order to maximize its creativity and insight, made downtown Toronto the right choice for me.

While globalization and drastic technological advancements have connected us to information and started dialogues on unimagined levels before, I believe that it has also created a new competitive era where a more intimate connection with consumers is essential in order to become an office that is truly and competitively creative, efficient and responsive to its consumer’s needs and desires. This connection is possible only if the two parties hold an interdependent, mutually beneficial relationship. Not only does the Future Office benefit from this relationship with its public, each independent firm inside the building interact and benefit from each other, and the Office of the Future comes to the state of Symbiosis within the complicated network of the city.

This symbiotic relationship is bound by a mutual concern, which is also the single most critical issue of the present and future world; the question of the Earth’s survival. Human waste and careless consumption has caused serious damage to the Earth and it now stands in dire condition of near destruction. Measures have been taken in hopes to stall the Earth’s exponential decay, but due to the massive scale of the undertaking, methods to revive the environment have been fragmented and the intangible results have discouraged activists and the public. The Office of the Future must undertake the responsibility of not only physically nurturing and redeveloping the endangered natural environment, but also instilling in the public an understanding that progress is taking place while also restoring in them a sense of hope and duty to their environments. In order to see effective change, environmental efforts must be institutionalized and housed in a single building that embodies its sustainable initiative.

The Office of the Future houses independent firms from a variety of disciplines that work in collaboration to achieve the most environmentally sensitive products. As the firms work towards a united goal, the vertical tower must be able to achieve a high level of internal connectivity in order to increase efficiency and competition. Furthermore, the tower connects to the public through the restoration of a scarce natural environment in the urban core. This bond is strengthened as the Office of the Future looks to the public for feedback and creativity, and the public benefits from the urban park and allotment gardens provided by the Office. This symbiotic relationship is expressed in the Office Building.

Program

The floorplates are subdivided into different variations that accomodate the nature of work for different firms. They are classified as Analysis, Design, Marketing and Production. Each offer connections to its adjacent floors, with varying levels of visual and physical connection. Each section is connected by either a greenspace or the gym, where workers congregate.

Centralized relationship

According to typical symbiotic networks, the building holds a centralized relationship with its surroundings, where it becomes the focal point for public interaction and greening initiatives. Located in the financial core of Toronto, the ground level of the building provides allotment gardens and an urban park for the workers in the surrounding buildings.

Decentralized Relationship

The building’s mechanical system reflects the decentralized symbiotic relationship held by its occupants. Greywater is collected on the roof, which transfers itself to drinking fountains and bathrooms. The blackwater from toilets and waste from garbage are moved through gravity load to the garden floors, where they are composted and reused for manuer for the plants. The remaining compost is transferred to the ground floor where it is distributed back to the larger ecosystem. The garden spaces, while becoming functional nodes of transportation, also are the generator of nutrients for the building and a space where users of various specialties can gather.

Distributed Relationship

A distributed relationship exists between independent floorplates housing different firms. Each worker has views to a different office from the longer leg, and direct connection exists through the ramps that move along the open atrium. Because it allows different firms to work collaboratively, the vertical circulation is a critical artery to the Future Office Building and must not be overlooked due to its inability to be leased for profit.

The first semester’s Schematic Design will be further developed in the second semester.

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