Architecture and the American Office
Stories and speculations on office spaceImmerse yourself with architects Florian Idenburg and LeeAnn Suen as they journey through a wide-ranging collection of the objects, systems, and buildings that have occupied the American office space since the advent of the internet. Through stories and speculations, Idenburg and Suen expose the relationships between space, work, and people, and explore the intentions that have driven the development of office design for working humans.
In twelve essays, this book examines the spatial typologies and global phenomena that have defined the office in the last half century. Topics include the return of the work club, the rise of the corporate festival, the way of the charismatic guru, the shattering of the time clock, and the design of playgrounds for work. We cycle through Frank O. Gehry’s radical, playful spaces for digital nomads in the advertising world, stagger under the weight of stacks of punch cards, feel the fit of our bodies in the Aeron Chair, answer the phone in Hugh Hefner’s bed, and scroll through Lil Miquela's feed. Photographic essays by Iwan Baan provide a visual post-occupancy report on a range of canonical office projects, such as Marcel Breuer’s IBM campus in Florida and the Ford Foundation’s urban garden in Manhattan. Four intervening catalogs offer collections of experimental workplace products, augural advertisements for office building components, digital office components, and renderings of speculative workplaces; each catalog bridges the reality of the office and how we imagine its alternatives.
This book is a theoretical backdrop for architects as much as it is for businesspeople and employees. With curiosity and skepticism, it looks at the spaces and solutions that have been designed for human work, tracing the transformation from work to occupation, from punch cards to “playbor,” from today’s lived experience to tomorrow’s unpredictable, imagined futures.