Tammy Teng

MArch I

Duck, Duck, . . . , Duck

Advised by Andrew Holder

Sometimes we work in offices. Sometimes we work remotely. Sometimes we work at WeWork. The media, technology, and startup disruption dominating contemporary business has questioned the rigid structure of established office cultures, but this shift has yet to discover a corresponding spatial response to the shortcomings of the open office plan.

This lack of definition of the workspace is manifest in both new constructions and renovations. In the first, buildings like the Apple Infinite Loop Campus employ a totalizing and relentless design but foster only generic identities of the companies housed within. In the second, coworking spaces like WeWork amount to formulaic interior fit-outs with little spatial invention, reducing architecture to the scale of furniture. These recent developments fail to calibrate exterior form with interior organization and risk surrendering to the banality of the open office plans they were supposed to replace. Can the contemporary office express a company’s unique visual identity through form simultaneously tied to a range of different workspaces within?

This thesis proposes an intervention on eight existing “finger buildings” in Brooklyn’s Industry City by “cutting and folding” the buildings back onto themselves. This operation transforms the hypergeneric open office plans into a number of specific workspaces. Situated somewhere between new construction and renovation, the proposal imagines a new office space that can both house and signify a diversity of spaces. By turning a singular duck, in Robert Venturi’s terms, into many ducks, such an architecture rejects the monotony of the contemporary office and proposes a new direction forward for work in the 21st century.

Tammy Teng, MArch I. A black and white photograph of a model
Tammy Teng, MArch I.
Ground Floor Plan: The fold cut line intersects the existing column grid at a 60 degree angle, moving across one and up three bays. This cut line embraces the index of the original column grid and makes a new grid at 1 by 3. The project now contends with two grids that now must mediate with the other.
Tammy Teng, MArch I.
Top Floor Plan: On the folded bars, the floor plan negotiates the existing column grid with the 1 by 3 and produces a widened zig zag for greater areas to collaborate, lounge, or have informal meetings. The partition system changes across the folded floorplate depending on its overlap with the grid below but ultimately involves a careful and deliberate way of 3D pattern making with the architecture of the cut and fold.
Tammy Teng, MArch I.
Canting one fold onto another folded bar, the bridging bar produces a different relationship between the floor slab and façade, reorienting the floorplate, structure, and aperture. Every floor beneath is yet a different footprint that makes for diverse interior spaces.
Tammy Teng, MArch I.
From afar, the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal stripes produce beyond considered arrangements of the core and the grid. It generates the intersection between several grids and makes new spatial typologies of work.
Tammy Teng, MArch I.
New spaces afford quieter, smaller, workspaces that transforms the generic relentless office layout to one that produces different relationships between partition and interior furnishings.
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