Is it possible to create a kind of space which is specifically tuned to the needs of people working, and yet capable of an infinite number of various arrangements and combinations within it?


Lay out the office space as wings of open space, with free-standing columns around their edges, so they define half-private and common spaces opening into one another. Set down enough columns so that people can fill them in over the years, in many different ways—but always in a semi-permanent fashion. If you happen to know the working group before you build the space, then make it more like a house, more closely tailored to their needs. In either case, create a variety of space throughout the office—comparable in variety to the different sizes and kinds of space in a large old house.

… imagine that you have laid out the basic areas of a workshop or office Self-Governing Workshops and Offices (80), Office Connections (82). Once again, as in a house, the most basic layout of all is given by Intimacy Gradient (127) and Common Areas at the Heart (129). Within their general framework, this pattern helps to define the working space in more detail, and so completes these larger patterns.

Light is critical. The bays of this kind of workspace must either be free-standing (so that there is light behind the alcoves), or the entire bay must be short enough to bring enough light in from the two ends - Light on Two Sides of Every Room (159). Use Ceiling Height Variety (190) and Column Place (226) to define the proper mix of possible spaces. Above all, lay the workspace out in such a way to make it possible for people to work in twos and threes, always with partial contact and partial privacy - Small Work Groups (148) and Half-Private Office (152). Place a welcoming reception area at the front - Reception Welcomes You (149); and in the common areas at the heart arrange a place where people can eat together everyday - Communal Eating (147)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 690low-confidence