People cannot work effectively if their workspace is too enclosed or too exposed. A good workspace strikes the balance.


Give each workspace an area of at least 60 square feet. Build walls and windows round each workspace to such an extent that their total area (counting windows at one-half) is 50 to 75 percent of the full enclosure that would be there if all four walls around the 60 square feet were solid. Let the front of the workspace be open for at least 8 feet in front, always into a larger space. Place the desk so that the person working at it has a view out, either to the front or to the side. If there are other people working nearby, arrange the enclosure so that the person has a sense of connection to two or three others; but never put more than eight workspaces within view or earshot of one another.

… this pattern plays a vital role in helping to create an atmosphere in which people can work effectively. You can use it piecemeal to generate the larger patterns for workspace like Flexible Office Space (146), Half-Private Office (152), and Home Workshop (157). Or, of course, it can be used to help complete these larger patterns, if you have already built them into your design. Even in an alcove off the family commons Alcoves (179), you can make the workspace more suitable for work, by placing and shaping the enclosure immediately around it according to this pattern.

For the view, give each workspace a window to the outside - Windows Overlooking Life (192); surround the space with thick walls which contain shelves and storage space - Half-Open Wall (193), Thick Walls (197), Open Shelves (200), Waist-High Shelf (201); arrange a pool of incandescent light over the work table to set it off - Pools of Light (252); and try to make a sitting place, next to the workspace, so that the pulse of work, and talk can happen easily throughout the day - Sitting Circle (185). For details on the shape of the workspace, see The Shape of Indoor Space (191)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 846high-confidence