The Agile Office

The debate between Open Plan and Private Office is missing the point

Fed Novikov
Apr 27, 2015 · 3 min read

Abstract

Both an open plan office arrangement and private office approach are based on a flawed assumption that it’s possible to design an ideal space for average behaviors. Instead, we should aim to provide opportunities for bottom-up individual space planning. To do this, we must find a way to make an office interior reconfigurable.

Flawed Assumption: Design for Average Behaviors

For the last couple decades, the debate between an open plan office arrangement and a private office has not come to a conclusion. The open plan promises transparency, spontaneous collaboration and brainstorming. A private office boasts better productivity and concentration.

photo by @grigoryrudko

Agile Office: Bottom-up Design & Reconfiguration

What if instead we designed around the assumption that individual space preferences differ, change over time, and cannot be fully anticipated?

Bottleneck: Hardware Reconfiguration

The ability to reconfigure space today is largely limited to furniture. It’s usually possible to move tables and chairs around, but that’s about it. Peer-to-peer space planning won’t be fully functional without the ability to seamlessly create custom private and semi-private spaces with good soundproofing.

Buildings Will Be Asmbld.

Asmbld. was a startup exploring reconfigurable built environment and construction robotics

Fed Novikov

Written by

Co-founder Apt Buildings, Inc., previously Airbnb Samara and Asmbld

Buildings Will Be Asmbld.

Asmbld. was a startup exploring reconfigurable built environment and construction robotics