Many of the offices from our research in Sydney have considered and implemented workplace strategies to improve their environment and performance. Some of the newer buildings chose glass facades and simultaneously introduced permeable and flexible interfaces that counteract excessive sunlight and heat. Conversions and heritage are increasingly popular and necessary. These adjustments call for different thinking in terms of creative and technical solutions. Overall, design proposals suggest a number of possibilities for communication and way finding, based on individualization, color, and the use of technology.
Log in for Light
Challenge: Challenges in the glass building in the CBD revolve around the little change in daylight hours throughout the year.
Thesis: Existing lights and schemes can be improved by customizing control over a work place scenario for an individual worker. A set program will adjust atmosphere and lighting setting, depending on what time and for how many working hours the employee decides to work.
Proposal: An “App” will determine the light scheme and atmospheric setting according to daytime and individual work process. The employees can “log in” and extract the maximum use of the space. The foyer will be used for “theatrical lighting” identifying occupied or vacant spaces. Semi-transparent blinds, curtains and skylights can maximize natural daylight and achieve a five star energy efficiency rating, despite the amount of glazing.
Scenes for Conversions
Challenge: The main challenge is dealing with daylight, the lack of control for artificial lighting and inflexibility in the work environment.
Thesis: The functionality and comfort of the space can allow the office to operate successfully as a collaborative creative design hub by the use of multiple scene settings throughout the work place.
Proposal: Users will control both the ambient lighting and task lighting. To offer enhanced control within the space, custom collaborative workstations will house three lighting scenes. Drop-down pendants will provide general lighting sufficient for computer tasks and office work. These lights will be controlled by motion sensor, so the lighting levels will automatically drop when no one is working to save energy while still providing sufficient lighting for circulation. Brighter LED lighting strips will be controlled users when they require higher light levels for detailed tasks.
Zoning the Open Plan
Challenge: The large open-plan space lacks of control and creates conflicts of lighting intensities. Cubicles in the center have no natural light and need task lights, while cubicles situated closer to the windows don’t need any.
Thesis: Zoning the office according to tasks and lighting demands, and consider more democratic distribution of workspace conditions.
Proposal: A holistic approach combines layout and functions in the space and integrates the open plan structure with a lighting system to improve individual wellbeing of workers in relation to the surrounding built environment. All lights are changed to LEDs and blinds will automatically adjust to solar impact. Zoning allows different light settings throughout the open plan office.
Small Pharmaceutical Office
Challenge: Standard ceiling system with fluorescent lights allows no variations, which creates a dull work experience that is described as dark and heavy.
Thesis: Due to increased urbanisation, office spaces will receive less natural light. Emulating the diurnal patterns of natural light within these office spaces will lead to enhancement in the quality of work. This is predicated on the biological impact of light on human behaviour.
Proposal: The proposal aims to simulate temporal changes in light patterns that allow workers’ biological clocks to function effectively. Differentiating production and recreational spaces, the design aims to improve work environments through managing light patterns for people working outside daylight hours and to reduce glare in the space.
Challenge: The conversion introduces a new function and use into a space that was intended for another purpose. As a heritage building, architectural interventions are difficult –especially on the façade. There is a lack of natural lighting and accessible views, no connection to the buildings substance or surrounding. Users have no control.
Thesis: Workspace design of the future will focus on the use of 'smart lights' that know if it's sunny or overcast. They will anticipate if you're standing or sitting; reading or typing; tired or alert. Existing technology will communicate with the luminaires around us and finally react to a user's needs and preferences.
Proposal: The lighting scheme uses a range of different dimmable lights to create a comprehensive set of options for each room. These schemes will be suited to the activities performed in each, controlled via worker's personal devices. Technology in phones and watches that can determine if you're walking, sitting, positioning in the room, heartbeat, heat, etc.