The Smartest Building in the World
October 6, 2015 1:42 AM   Subscribe

 
Ugh. Hot desking. I would want my own space.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 2:09 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've spent many years wondering if architecture could invent something more soul destroying than brutalism. Now I know.
posted by langtonsant at 2:11 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


(Also, it's kind of cool, but I think I'd be scared to actually work there?)
posted by langtonsant at 2:14 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


"the Uber of buildings"

why
posted by special agent conrad uno at 2:36 AM on October 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is a lot of very clever passive architecture here that to me is the really interesting part of buildings like this. Unfortunately that story will be completely overshadowed by the fact the building also sounds like a corporate big brother house.
posted by deadwax at 3:15 AM on October 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


Also this: Because at the Edge, you don’t have one. No one does. Workspaces are based on your schedule: sitting desk, standing desk, work booth, meeting room, balcony seat, or “concentration room.” can go to hell.

I'd spend half of every day just getting settled.
posted by deadwax at 3:17 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


What's wrong with hot desking? I like having my own dedicated hot desk, just for my use only.
posted by gorcha at 3:23 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Joke, yeah?
posted by deadwax at 3:32 AM on October 6, 2015


There's a lot of interesting sustainable elements in The Edge, and I don't really understand why they needed to combine it with weird "the app controls you" and wide eyed Utopian ideas about how people want to work. I really hope we don't lose the LED, solar, and green plant elements when the apps and robots fail.

For consultants, hot desks make sense since they're usually out at the client site. If you need to have fixed desks for every consultant, it's a huge waste of resources and doesn't encourage working from home-- I hope they have fixed spaces for project teams, and more fixed coworkers but that seems like it might be too based in common sense?

The Dutch really like these Utopian architecture experiments. Exhibit A: De Bijlmer.
posted by frumiousb at 3:37 AM on October 6, 2015


It is just in time for the filming of Ballard's High Rise....
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:57 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]




I am an admin. Due to staffing issues, I was virtually hot-desking this summer, moving among multiple desks and trying to work at each one. I lost so much time moving my stuff, getting settled, packing up, etc. Certain conditions of my low-tech-ish work - like, I use paper - made this extra difficult, but I was surprised by how everyone I worked with thought that because lots of our systems are online, I ought easily to be able to work from anywhere, and it oughtn't to make a difference to me. It was incredibly stressful. The only time I've ever flat refused to do something at work was when they tried to cajole me into doing it permanently this fall.
posted by Frowner at 5:33 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Office space design is a contentious issue, and I'm not surprised that the same folks who gravitate to Metafilter have a special dark place for open office and hot-desk approaches. But, I also know a number of folks who went to Deloitte after graduating college and their typical work week included traveling to a client's office for at least four of the five work days. Building office space for a desk that gets occupied only 4-5 days a month is a bit of an indulgence - and many employees would rather have the bigger paycheck that a smaller capital investment allows.

Like any tool, this is an area that has been misused and abused by business owners looking to save a few bucks. But, there are genuine options and benefits to well designed work environments with a variety of space types for different roles. As an architect, I get frustrated by these discussions in popular discourse because views are so set before the discussion even begins.
posted by meinvt at 6:42 AM on October 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


2500 workers, and they couldn't find one to ask how they liked it.
posted by jon1270 at 6:50 AM on October 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Do those plastic tubes actually work well for radiant heading/cooling? It seems like it would be ridiculously failure-prone...
posted by schmod at 7:00 AM on October 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


We don't hot desk but we do move every few months. I've been lucky that I've only been at four desks in 18 months, some of my co-workers have moved seven or eight times in that same period. Once this product release goes out in December, I assume that the teams will be reconfigured and I'll move again.
posted by octothorpe at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2015


Ahah, fail: "The ​Edge uses ​7​0 percent less electricity than ​the typical office building​, but it wasn’t until OVG installed panels on the rooftops of some neighboring university buildings that the Edge was able to boast that it produces more energy than it consumes."

Glass: it looks nice, but it's not so great as an insulator, yo. Also, it's really expensive. If they'd used less glass, they might have had enough money to find a less stupid name for the building.

Those plastic tubes must be very, very UV-resistant, otherwise they'll fall apart after a few years of exposition to the sun (hopefully the windows are really good at blocking UV).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:18 AM on October 6, 2015


Now all they need is a pair of vertical farms and housing units and we've got ourselves the world's first true arcology!

So cyberpunk!

But, seriously, this is really cool. I'd wait a few years to see how it holds up though. If it does then perfect. The fact that it pulls a negative amount of energy from the grid is quite interesting and is quite a contrast compared to other office buildings. What kinda bothers me is all the open space which seems to be unused and isn't functional. I like functionality even in the little things. Still, that's a personal preference.

But, yeah, I'm not actually kidding about the vertical farms. That would be a neat add-on.
posted by I-baLL at 7:38 AM on October 6, 2015


Ah, consulting firm, it makes sense now. I too could get by with this kind of office if all I had to do was look self-assured wearing a suit.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:16 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Building office space for a desk that gets occupied only 4-5 days a month is a bit of an indulgence - and many employees would rather have the bigger paycheck that a smaller capital investment allows.

Yes because that's where the savings will go. /hamburger
posted by notsnot at 8:45 AM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


To be fair, a showoff building does fit with the needs of a consulting business: those suit-wearing self-assured people need something to be self-assured of. A big showy building is a way of doing that, a bit like the way Arthur Andersen would only hire people who had a perfect GPA.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 9:20 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I moved my home "office" from the kitchen to the bedroom, and it took my dog two weeks to settle down and be more or less okay with it. She would not approve of this hot desk thing, or the lack of floor pillows for her lounging pleasure. I don't make every business decision based on what my dog likes, but these Smart Building people could learn a thing or two from our four-legged colleagues, is what I'm saying.

Also, *perhaps* more importantly, it could be than women are more negatively affected by the stressors of these sorts of flex-office work environments.
posted by taz at 10:28 AM on October 6, 2015


As to women and combi-offices: I wonder if they are worse for women because people feel a lot freer to interrupt women, so when there's no door to close, women get even less time to concentrate.
posted by Frowner at 10:38 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Of course, all of these computers hooked into key systems just makes it that much easier for a ragtag bunch of international terrorists (or thieves posing as a ragtag bunch of international terrorists) to take over the building and hold everyone hostage. And NYPD has only so many cops visiting estranged wives to go around.
posted by ckape at 10:53 AM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is a lot of very clever passive architecture here that to me is the really interesting part of buildings like this.

Can you go into greater detail on this? That sort of thing fascinates me.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:04 PM on October 6, 2015


This reads like a brochure for a building found somewhere in Fallout.

To all Employees,

Block level 1B is off-limits as of the timestamp on this message until such time as necessary as automatic cleanup continues, and usage of the area will most likely resume as of 2:00pm today.

For everyone's convenience, please do not leave your assigned work area before time expiration without notifying security. This is also a reminder to have your employee ID clipped at 1.2 - 1.5 meters from the floor and visible at all times.

Have a wonderful day.
- Judith
P.S. Frank's memorial will be held at 4:00PM today in the atrium. There will be no viewing.

posted by Sallysings at 12:46 PM on October 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


John Straube, of Waterloo, is an architect that deals in high-performance building enclosures. Low-Energy Commercial and Institutional Buildings. Regarding the shading arrangement. A Critical Review of the Use of Double-Façades for Office Buildings in Cool Humid Climates.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:30 PM on October 6, 2015


Yeah it just looks and sounds like a horrible horrible place to work. All that open space and natural light -- how would you ever focus on your menial tasks? The worst part is, since it's in Europe you wouldn't even be able to wear a gun to protect yourself when someone inevitably freaks out at not getting the desk they want and starts murdering their coworkers.

It's the comments on this page that seem like they come from a satirical video game, not the building.
posted by lastobelus at 3:19 PM on October 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Open space and natural light, hell yes.

Not having a place where you can go to close the door and think hard, hell no. (The article does mention "concentration rooms" but who knows how many of those there are?
posted by egypturnash at 3:57 PM on October 6, 2015


I think that the sense of awe I'd get from working there would be enough to offset any of the inconveniences it might introduce. Nothing gets me going in the morning like walking into a building with all the ambiance and original fixtures of the 1960s...
posted by mantecol at 11:39 PM on October 6, 2015


If they'd used less glass, they might have had enough money to find a less stupid name for the building.

"Dave Evans" sounds about right.
posted by Wolof at 6:16 AM on October 7, 2015


2500 workers, and they couldn't find one to ask how they liked it.

And I told Dom too because they've moved my desk four times. I used to be by the window, where I could see the squirrels and they were married.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


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