Futuristic office designs shed light on the future of work

Rebecca Tomes
(IFA Magazine)

 

 

  • New architectural designs from the South Westminster Business Alliance show how the future hybrid workspace could look
  • Created by Gensler, the pre-fabricated ‘pods’ are designed to be easily transported and installed in local areas to support hybrid working and encourage people back to the office.
  • The ‘pods’ incorporate anti-viral features with sustainable materials and are currently undergoing feasibility testing.

New designs have shed light on what the future office could look like as businesses continue to reimagine their workspaces to suit hybrid working.

Commissioned by the South Westminster Business Alliance, the Hexa Pods are prefabricated structures designed to create a fully COVID secure environment. They can be easily transported, modified and installed in open spaces, near to people’s homes or within urban centres to support flexible working outside of traditional office locations.

Created by award winning architects’ Gensler, the pods also have a unique ability to switch between being an indoor and outdoor space and are able to achieve far higher hygiene standard than traditional offices. Innovative elements include copper surfaces for enhanced microbial resistance, cross-ventilation and air filters to prevent the transmission of viruses.

Environmental features have also been included such transparent solar panels for the roof and the use of reclaimed wood to ensure they blend into their surroundings, as well as having a lower carbon impact in production.

According to the South Westminster Business Alliance around one third (35 per cent) of office workers in London are still concerned about contracting COVID-19 when returning to work. Six in then (62 per cent) say that taking public transport worries them while the pandemic is ongoing.

Over the last eighteen months, businesses have been weighing up options for how their offices will look in the future. The CEO of the South Westminster Business Alliance, Ruth Duston hopes these designs will serve as inspiration as we come to live alongside COVID-19.  “It is a fact of life that we will be learning to live alongside COVID-19 for many years”, she commented.

“Thankfully we have a tremendously effective vaccine but we also need to think boldly about how our offices will look. These designs are just one example of how we can fundamentally rethink these spaces to make them safe, flexible and welcoming environments which support new ways of working. We need people back in offices not just so companies can build collaborative cultures but also to ensure our city centres remain vibrant places.”

Ian Mulcahey, Principal, Director of Cities, Gensler, said: 

“As we are finally returning to the heart of our cities for work once again, we see our streets filled with sound of people meeting, socialising and enjoying their city. The Hexa Pod provides an exciting first step for the return to the office where colleagues can finally meet, collaborate and focus on work together in an open air setting in Central London.”

The Hexa Pods are currently undergoing feasibility testing to see if they could be rolled out in Westminster and Victoria.

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