Dixi Wu

MDes REBE

Between Living, Working, and Socializing

Advised by Elizabeth Whittaker

The significant impact of modern technology on lifestyle shifts is more apparent than ever for millennials and Gen-Zers. New economic sectors began to emerge, more diverse lifestyles became socially acceptable, the number of digital nomads and freelance employees increased in the workforce, and their demands for workspace differs drastically from the traditional cookie-cutter cube office. Such trends have impacted workspace demand permanently even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Back in 2018, numerous studies suggested that the boundary between work life and socializing is blurry.

As large companies such as Twitter, Shopify, Facebook, Square, and Slack issue permanent work from home options, the COVID-19 pandemic poses bigger challenges for landlords, architects, companies, and residents to imagine a new work-scape. It is within everyone’s interest to create a built environment that can keep employees engaged and maintain the level of productivity that a normal office can offer. Now with the reality of a work from home option “genie out of the bottle,” we can project a future where people will have the permanent option to work from home at least one day a week. However, numerous studies indicate a drop in work productivity as work life and socializing are comingled into the same domestic environment.

This reality leaves us thinking: What does it mean to create a new work environment? This thesis explores the quantitative and qualitative factors that impact how we work and poses unique design solutions that recreate the distance between work, life, and socializing by defining the in-between space.

Drawing of exposed side views of an office building and a residential building showing interior layout.