Written by: Kirsty Lucas, L+Architects
31st October, 2023
Office spaces are usually rented for long-term use by similar types of users. However, there is a growing need for flexibility and durability in office design, with a focus on creating highly comfortable working conditions. In fact, we believe that a successful office design should evoke the same feelings of comfort and productivity that one feels in their own home.
Individuals customise their homes to create a comfortable environment to concentrate and think clearly. Upon visiting a friend’s house, you may observe that they have brighter lighting, natural light, or bold and contrasting colours. We believe creating a work environment that promotes this level of personal comfort is crucial to establishing an effective workspace.
Designing for Neurodiversity
In recent years, psychologists and the public acknowledge the neurodiversity prevalent within society. “The range of differences in individual brain function and behavioural traits, regarded as part of normal variation in the human population” (Oxford Dictionary, 2023). Neurodiversity is a sliding scale, with most of the population reaching the “normal” end. However, it is a scale that we are all on, and therefore, we all respond differently to our environment and in this case, it means that no one office can fit all. Considerations in designing office spaces for those hypersensitive to their environment require new approaches such as biophilic design and incorporating the PAS 6463:2022 ‘Design for the mind – Neurodiversity and the built environment guidelines.’
At L+ACHITECTS, we take a biophilic design approach, meaning that we seek to elevate the connection to nature within our spaces. Studies have shown that environments with biophilic principles applied help to reduce stress and improve cognitive performance. For example we consider the orientation of natural light and take notice of the changes in daylight throughout the day and that some colours are too bright and overwhelming to create a comfortable environment for people sensitive to glare. Dimmable artificial light with the possibility to change the hue (warmth) gives multiple solutions for adapting environments to meet people’s optimum comfort levels.
We take a multi-sensory approach in our designs, this includes using natural visual representation and reproducing natural sensory experiences. It’s worth noting that biophilic design isn’t just about adding plants; there are many other ways that architecture can have a biophilic effect. For example, natural fractal patterns and canopy-like structures can recreate savannah-like landscapes. It’s important that biophilic elements are visually exposed to everyone, at different elevations. Biophilic sounds such as wind blowing through trees, birds or running water can add to the serenity of a location and remarkably reduce stress. If you want to learn more about biophilic design, check out our blog.
General user accessibility
Employers are responsible for the well-being and safety of their staff. Inclusive workplace design can contribute to this.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is becoming an increasingly prevalent business model; it is the approach of businesses contributing to society through their work. Of the many factors contributing to this, our team are interested in the environmental impact of our work and displaying sustainable low carbon projects. One way to review this is by changing energy sources and upgrading the existing office fabric. When designing offices at L+ARCHITECTS, we always consider using a sustainable form of heating and electricity—the benefit of an Air Source Heat Pump and Solar Panels with battery storage.
L+Architects Commercial Architecture
We have a wide range of experience in commercial architecture including the development of mixed-use schemes, masterplans, hospitality, education architecture & office space fit outs. View some of our commercial portfolio here.
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