Workplace design – be it for an office block, a factory or a small space in a shared building – covers more facets these days than ever before.
Architects need to take into account that the building itself may have a marketing function in that the building needs to align with the message and image the company wants to send out to the world. What are the Discovery and Sasol office buildings saying to the public? We are a successful company, we are forward-thinking, we make our investors money, we care about our employees, we invest in the future – these are just some of the messages buildings like these send out.
So the building itself, the landscaping surrounding the building, the area the building is placed in, access to the building and the reception areas are all very important for the image of the company/ies located there.
But, of course, it goes much further. A beautiful building is meaningless without a productive and happy workforce. The biggest factory in the world is pointless if it has not been designed to allow for machinery and people to operate in it effectively. So the interior of a workplace building is of paramount importance – design, thermal comfort, fittings, lighting, bathrooms, storage, noise levels, and so much more contribute to an effective workplace.
These days too, architects must take designing green or sustainably into account. It’s important not to design energy-gobbling buildings from the beginning. Careful thought must be placed into specifying sustainable products, making the most of natural light and air, checking the green credentials of specified products and encouraging the design and construction of buildings that tread lightly on this earth.
All of this calls for a wide variety of building products and services, which is the reason for the fifth publication in our Powered by Specifile series, where we concentrate on specific sectors of the architectural and construction industries.