Eric Parry Architects, London
What will tomorrow’s great workplace’s look like? Plan Libre versus Raumplan? What is the role of public access to high places civic versus corporate agendas? Because of protected viewing corridors, a new planning and development strategy was devised for the City [of London] that would be permissive and encouraging to developers but rather autocratic in its choice of architects. The vexed question of the city skyline and who determines it is ever present because tall buildings are inescapable – as Roland Barthes’s opening quotation in his 1964 essay “The Eiffel Tower” makes clear: “Maupassant often lunched at the restaurant in the tower, though he didn’t care much for the food: ‘It’s the only place in Paris,’ he used to say, ‘where I don’t have to see it.’”
This presentation explores the myths and truths of technological transcendence and the impact of changing technology on work patterns and examines questions of accommodating difference in the public and private sphere. Topics for discussion include the importance of context; a sense of well-being begins well before getting to work. The responsibility we have as designers is to enhance context, both in terms of cultural resonances and environmental conditions. Also explored is the idea, and importance of mediating scale. Between the skyline and the pavement, maintaining orientation while navigating complex sections and plan relationships is critical. The individual and the role of collective communicative spaces are examined.