The design of a new London building envisions a space with a greater focus on health, the benefits of socialisation and flexible working
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Spotted: As businesses prepare for post-COVID working patterns, many realise that enticing employees back to the office is going to require more of a focus on health and the benefits of socialisation and flexible working than was required before the lockdowns. London-based Threefold Architects have completed a new co-working, wellness and events space, Paddington Works, that aims to achieve this.
The design organises the projects’ space with the “intention of creating smaller communities or neighbourhoods within the wider workplace”. Each “neighbourhood” is centred around a kitchen and a flexible social space, with informal breakout and meeting areas, shared co-working spaces, private studios and workstations. The wellness aspect is catered to with high levels of filtered fresh air, and an intelligent white LED lighting system which adjusts the colour temperature of the light throughout the day, in line with circadian rhythms.
The scheme also includes a flexible auditorium, designed as a huge set of wooden steps. In addition to hosting lectures and screenings, the auditorium can also be used as an informal workspace – each step incorporates a pull-out “drawer desk,” along with charging points. The auditorium is envisioned as a sort of indoor agora —a forum or type of public space within the building.
Matt Driscoll, one of the three co-founders of Threefold Architects, said the firm was inspired in its design by how people move around and interact with each other. “There should be quiet places to be alone, vibrant places to collaborate, and everything in between”, he says. “We’ve always put generous social spaces at the heart of our schemes, for people to come together in their downtime, spaces to support, create and promote a culture within a business.”
Co-working spaces were popular before the pandemic, but they could become even more so as people demand more flexibility in how they work – with many planning to only return to an office for one or two days a week. Architecture could have a big role to play in preparing for this future. At Springwise, we have already caught a glimpse of this in designs such as a flexible, multi-purpose outdoor venue and plans for integrating housing, offices and retail in a new “green quarter”.
Written By: Lisa Magloff