It has been said that Central Park is New York’s “living room.” New technology firms and 21st century schools compete in creating collaborative workplaces forming “neighborhoods” connected by “streets” leading to “commons” or “town squares.” Flexibility and adaptability are king, blurring the lines made by walls until inside is out and outside is in.
Nature is part of this game, first with buildings set in nature (the office park) and then with nature in buildings, like in the huge tent-like structure proposed by Bjarke Ingels (BIG) for Google in Mountainview.
It can be confusing to follow the many iterations of forms, from urban to suburban back to urban, from undesignated spaces to specialized spaces back to undesignated ones. Closed offices open up, then fill with cubicles, then become open offices again.
We move from specialized classrooms to open classrooms, to flexible learning studios with moveable walls and learning streets. Houses with rooms along hallways become open plan houses, combine to form McMansions with some of both, then collapsing into all-in-one micro units.
What does it tell us about the state of society, technology, planning and design if we use urban design terms to describe interior space arrangements and room names to describe urban design?