Chris Lambert recently spoke with Lawrence Biemiller of The Chronicle of Higher Education on trends within the academic workplace. Their discussion covered methods of examining how faculty and administration utilize office space, to the growing trend of open spaces vs. private offices within academic design. Below are some highlights from the piece:

On using an activity-based approach to academic workplace design:

“It suggests that I have the right kind of space to do the things that I need to do at the time that I need to do them,” he says… It’s the approach CannonDesign took at the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, Lambert says, acknowledging that peoples’ work styles vary. Some people would be assigned to private offices, but others who move frequently among buildings, such as physicians going on their rounds, would be better served by mobile-work tools and spaces, he says. “You have very nice spaces, but they’re shared spaces — think of a really nice first-class lounge in a European airport.”

“There is a percentage of their population for whom that was really appealing,” he says. “The idea was, I already work in this way, and now you’re providing me with the ideal tools to do it effectively.”

On the incorporation of open spaces vs. private offices:

Lambert says CannonDesign has also designed facilities for a two-year institution in the Midwest that saw open-plan workspaces as a lure for hiring part-time instructors rather than as a risk for retaining its full-time faculty members. “It was an equity move,” he says. “It was about saying, We’re all in this together. Full-time faculty are frankly very scarce at this institution. They thought it was important to make sure that adjunct faculty had the same kind of accommodations.”

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