The 'Open Office' is not a new idea, what is new; or more relevant, is the business types and companies that choose to explore the concept of "reducing the separation of people with physical barriers" That is the general common denominator of "Open Offices" There are an infinite number of ways to execute that basic model. Most ordinary people think of the "open office" part being the 'sea of desks' (ME Space, where you sit at YOUR desk and 'work') lets accept that for a moment, the interesting part, and arguably the measure of success is in the types and number of 'other' spaces that support that "Open Office" often called WE Space, places that are not my individual desk but are places that I can go and meet or work with one or more other people, conference rooms are an example, there are many others. Increasingly we're finding that the provision of a third type of space which we call, FREE Space, not only gives workers significantly greater choice in how and where to work, but as the WE and FREE space ratio increases, the importance of the ME space to the worker reduces significantly, allowing the designer and real estate team to quite drastically rethink the ME Space. To continue the analogy, when a 'Sea of Desks' is surrounded by golden sand beaches and palm trees to retreat to, people are much more content and productive. So before you start complaining about how terrible your 'open office' is, look around and ask yourself where the WE and FREE spaces are?
Author: Richard Lott
Hello! I’m Cynthia Rumas, an intern at Whitney and soon-to-be senior at Purdue University. Dating back to my first day as an intern during the summer of 2015, Whitney has done nothing but amaze me. I vividly remember that first day, as I had never been in a professional design office before. I was shaking with nerves and beaming with excitement as I sat in the hospitality area. My eyes darted across the materials library, while my ears overheard conversations of weekend plans and project progress. Whitney’s welcoming culture and passion for design was apparent from the start.
As a student, it is difficult to fully prepare for the realities of the “real world.” You can be taught computer programs. You can memorize codes and compliance's. You can train yourself on how to dress in “business casual” attire. But what you cannot fully prepare for is the joy and reward you feel being part of such an incredible team.
This summer marks my second internship with Whitney Architects. I have been involved on a wide variety of projects and have collaborated with a large amount of the Whitney team. And with that I bring you Eat, Create, Engage: An Intern's Thoughts
What seems like a random category for discussing my role as an intern, those at Whitney know this category is all too relevant to the weekly schedule. On my very first day, I was ecstatic about the Big Star tacos brought in for lunch. Little did I know that what felt like a treat was just a regular Tuesday.
You see, every other Monday there is a staff breakfast meeting. Food. Tuesdays involve a representative lunch, Food. Wednesdays include a quick snack break; which is usually something sweet. Food. We start the day Thursdays with a representative breakfast, similar to the Tuesday Lunch, except we can eat the food brought for breakfast AND lunch that day. LOTS of food. Fridays vary, but based on the previous days there are sure to be leftovers. You guessed it: Food. The amount of food was indeed a surprise, but I could not think of a better way to quickly bring together a group of busy designers to learn and catch-up with one another. I love food. They love food. We all love food. We also all love architecture and design.
The online “creeping,” er...research, I did on Whitney’s website introduced me to the potential and prestige of corporate design. The level of talent at Whitney is evident in the work they produce. Starting my internship last summer, I did not know what to expect of myself when placed within such a talented group of people. Then again, I did not have much time to think about it as I was quickly integrated into one of the biggest projects that year, the Kraft Heinz Headquarters project. I was given the task to create the SketchUp file that the team would use for design development and presentations. Although this was my assigned task, I gained more than a computer program could ever teach.
As an intern, I was ecstatic to be working on a project of such caliber. I mean, a giant Kool-Aid man was involved with the design...how could I NOT be excited? The weeks flew by as I attended meetings with the team and watched them develop and progress the plans. The team was most certainly just that, a team, and this project introduced me to the value of a team-based working environment. Working as a team turns a good idea into a great one through the exchange of ideas and inputs. Whitney’s engagement and respect within the teams is indisputable, from the Kraft Heinz project last summer to the various project teams I’ve helped with this summer.
Walking into Whitney I felt immediately welcome. Mary D. at the front desk is surely the best introduction into Whitney’s incredible office culture. Being an intern usually drags visions of coffee runs, ordering lunches, and completing menial tasks...all of which I was prepared for as an intern. But at Whitney, the interns are respected and engaged as part of the team; which is something for which I am exceedingly grateful. I was welcomed on site visits, field surveys, client meetings, among many other tasks. Each member of the staff made efforts to get to know me, despite knowing I was an intern, an inherently temporary addition to the Whitney staff.
After two summers at Whitney, I am full of gratitude and respect for this company. I am honored to have been welcomed last summer, but then again for a second summer. I can surely say my studies and design capabilities have grown thanks to this internship.
Thank you, Whitney team, for all that you have given me. Cheers to all that you do!
Written by our candy snatching intern: Cindy Rumas