Microsoft Building by Sevil Peach in Schiphol, The Netherlands
Typology Case Study
Bill Gates wrote to Microsoft’s employees about ‘The New World of Work’ in 2005, highlighting the way that advances in technology were building bridges ‘between disconnected islands of information’, and enabling greater communication and collaboration and a new way of working. Microsoft’s Dutch headquarters in Schiphol was designed to embody the spirit of that message and has evolved an innovative workplace based around activity-based working.
The feeling that this is not a traditional office begins at the entrance − visitors are greeted by receptionists on their feet, not behind a desk.Visitors are then led to a large communal coffee area on the first floor to await the person they have come to meet − a space also used byemployees and managers in a shared, club-like environment.
Each floor accommodates a team or community and people share specific activity-based spaces. A variety of environments have been created that are designed to suit both task and mood. So there are kitchen tables for individuals, orcollaborative spaces for small teams. Other ad hoc meeting environments such as cockpits or stand-up meeting rooms make meeting with teamsof any size easy and quick to arrange.
The whole building is designed to encourage collaboration and communication, supported by sophisticated technology enabling employees to communicate using extreme wireless, instant messenger through Lync, email, video conferencing and some social networking tools whereverthey happen to be. A dramatic staircase has been punched through the slab to create verticality and connect clusters between floors.
The workplace has an energy and buzz, and creates a democratic approach to the office where no one has a dedicated desk or room. The building provides lockers for personal effects and a range of innovative spaces from sleep pods to outdoor meeting cabanas. With the first floor acting as a communal, social hub, the office creates a sense of belonging and at the same time provides space that is aligned to both purposeand the business.
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