Responsive spaces: The London Festival of Architecture explores the future of the modern workspace

Responsive spaces: The London Festival of Architecture explores the future of the modern workspace

This year’s London Festival of Architecture focuses on the increasing use of unconventional workspaces across the capital. As the nature of work continues to change, so too does the working environment. Remote working has freed employees up from their workstations; at the same time, myriad start-ups and sole-traders have taken space in shared offices, which are springing up across cities worldwide.

The London-based architectural practice Gensler is exploring this phenomenon in its debate ’Why Keep Work in the Office When We Can Have the City?’ The panellists will grapple with issues such as: How will office environments change to counter or embrace this trend? What will future ’Third Spaces’ become? And how can these spaces respond in order to better support the industry clusters that they are embedded in?’

RIBA’s event, ’The Changing Face of Workspace’, pushes this theme further still, questioning whether these changes and the way we work have a greater impact on us than we might expect.

But it’s not all co-working and coffee shops. Under the Archiboo banner, Carlo Ratti of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ponders the repercussions for how whole cities are designed in his talk ’The Future of Work: the New Ideas That Will Kill the Office’.

Meanwhile, as digital technology allows work to become ever-more invasive, the effect this is having on our sleep and well-being is discussed at ’Hypnos: The Architecture of Sleep’. This panel debate, which accompanies Sto Werkstatt’s exhibition on sleep, asks: ’What does it say about a company that provides a bed, on the proviso that you are available 24/7?’ Sleep neuroscientist Professor Jim Horne will be on the panel hoping to throw light on the subject.

This year’s event illustrates many different futures for our working lives – but one thing participants do agree on is that almost continual change is now a given.

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