By Leslie Braunstein
With 40 percent of today’s office space not being used and a decreasing amount of work that has to be done in an office by office workers, why bother with buildings at all? That was the question posed by ULI Washington Real Estate Trends conference keynote speaker David P. Lathrop, Director of Research and Strategy at Steelcase, Inc.
Lathrop described his company’s research agenda, which is looking deeply into how human beings actually function in workspaces and in other aspects of their lives. He pointed out that in the pre-industrial era, there was no real separation be3tween work and life; the post-World War II era gave rise to tall office buildings reflecting hierarchical business organizations and designed to symbolize status and rank. The future, while we can’t quite see it from here, is likely to include more collaborative work models and spaces.