Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Flexible-Modular-Adaptible January 29, 2009

Filed under: energy conservation,ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES — ia2studio @ 5:18 pm

Flexibility, Modularity and Adaptability are more often than not intertwined together through designing interiors. An example of Adapting a project to contribute to its environmental goals may be raised flooring. This allows the heating and cooling of the building to circulate and exit through vents in the floor. This is more efficient than circulating air through vents in the walls, saving the building cost and energy and at the same time saving the environment. The more natural the energy process, the less we as people have to build energy conservation areas (Disturbing the land). Modularity is a term that may refer to products that are 1) many components that create one functional system that can be used and 2) used as components independent of their parent system ( Many workplaces nowadays need a “community area” where their employees can come together and discuss ideas. These spaces need to be multi-functional so they can serve many purposes. Modularity can be implemented into these kinds of spaces through furniture like ottoman “cubes”. These “cubes” can serve as seating or as small tables. They can be used independently as singular units or as a unit of four (just to give a number). An office space usually needs to be flexible-which means they often have modular furniture to meet their need to be flexible. Environmentally, a business then needs less furniture and therefore, putting less waste into landfills. Flexible design means that a project must be prepared to meet every need of the client, including those that are unexpected. In the case that a building is already using too much water, consider using a dual flush toilet that uses less water than a standard toilet. Also consider using the water from a green roof for non-drinking purposes. It is then recycled water, cutting down on waste that is dumped on the earth by humans.


Michelle Stuart


One Response to “Flexible-Modular-Adaptible”

  1. ia2studio Says:

    To pull out and solidify some of the points above:

    Adaptability: It is about designing spaces that can be adapted later by your client with minimal investment in new materials. (Looking into the future as much as possible) [Example: Movable Wall Systems]

    Flexibility: This is about designing spaces with a certain “multi-functionality” that may allow you to use less physical materials to accommodate a variety of functions. (Designing immediate flexibility in the present) [Example: Desks that push together to form tables, or your ottoman example above.]

    Modularity: Is a systems design approach which helps us to achieve adaptability and flexibility! [Examples: systems furniture, carpet tiles, raised floor panels, movable walls, ceiling grids…and thinking about how all such interior systems interact with each other!]

    In general, nice work. Try to be a little more specific with your examples. For example, I’m not convinced that a dual-flush toilet is the best example of “flexibility” — though it is obviously a good example of water conservation.


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