ecology, identity, and the future of work

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“Apple, your products are amazing and often make me feel like I am holding the 21st century in my hands. But your built environment legacy is straight out of the 1980’s. If you’d asked your employees (maybe especially the female ones) about what their work days look like, or what would make this place feel welcoming and productive, you wouldn’t have made this blunder. Instead, you let your–mostly male, I’m guessing–design team build a tech bro Valhalla with a 100,000 square foot fitness center, but no child care on site. In your suburban island that will now cause parents to make four stops a day in silicon valley rush hour traffic. You selected a site far from major transit investments and just assumed the city will be grateful for your descent upon them. I hope I never hear you carp about how difficult it is to hire women in tech. Or about how “the city” (said with disdain) never does anything to solve the traffic nightmare at your doorstep. You get the workforce you build for and workplace you design.”

Jess Zimbabwe, 2017 (founding Director, Rose Center for Public Leadership in Land Use at National League of Cities)

Terminal Studio, January-June 2018

TOPIC Final year architecture students are responding to popular critiques of recent tech headquarters buildings (Apple, Amazon) with speculative proposals for 35,000-70,000 sf workplaces for global tech cities that contribute ideas for the “future of work” in terms of ecology and identity (race, class, gender).

PROCESS In the winter term, students  identified a site within a global tech community (such as Shenzen, Pittsburgh, Sunnyvale), developed a bibliography on topics of ecology and identity according to their particular interest (such as ecogentrification, environmental racism, ecofeminism), analyzed the sites in terms of those frameworks, and wrote a design manifesto for the “future of work” at these sites.

This spring term, students are proposing building designs that manifest their design positions as a way of testing the potential of their frameworks and also to demonstrate their ability to design a building for human experience and environmental/social impact in 1) site design, 2) environmental control systems, 3) structural design, and 4) space planning.

University of Oregon Department of Architecture

Acknowledgments: Many thanks to Gary Aquilina, CAS Architects, Jeremy Monroe, Freshwaters Illustrated, Lori Stephens, Broadleaf Architecture, Florian Idenberg, Solid Objectives, Joyce Van Den Berg, City of Amsterdam, and Cassandra Keller, Clarke Keller Architects for generosity of time and expertise.

IMG_6491Poston Plans and SectionGround Flooraeb ground floor planIMG_6463IMG_6490


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