Efficiency is inherent in studio apartments; smaller square footages offer similar functionality to multi-bedroom homes. One consequence of such practice is that multiple rooms typically inhabit the same volume. When working from home, mental fatigue can result from the inability to separate work and home life, especially when no partition exists to physically separate the two. ‘Nookshelf’ introduces a way to offer physical separation between work and home life without sacrificing valuable studio square footage.
A built-in bookshelf rests as the backdrop to a small reading area within a small studio apartment. By modifying the bookshelf to sit on rolling tracks and including both a pocket door and a pocket table, the resting bookshelf becomes an active ‘Nookshelf’ that can be pulled from the wall to create an effectively separated work area within the confines of the studio apartment. By placing and pulling the ‘Nookshelf’ by a window, natural light can fill the work area while floor-to ceiling construction on all other sides provides visual and audial privacy. One can thus unfold their workspace in the morning and, when it comes time to end the workday, push it against the wall to rest until the following day.
Responds to both the needs of studio apartment spaces and creates adaptability by creating a useful piece of furniture that serves two purposes by adding flexibility to have a dedicated WFH space with access to daylight and views. I could see this being manufactured and replicated; having the ability to flex the built environment.
Dorothea Schulz, AIA
My husband and I are pretty intense gardeners and every year we wish we had a greenhouse to get our plants started. And I have been wanting a space of my own for thinking and tinkering - so why not combine the two? Maybe I could build it myself? The design is really simple - a wood framed greenhouse with polycarbonate walls and a workspace to the side of it with a view. I can open or close the doors. I feel close to the outside. I have space to think. I have space to grow some ideas.
Tectonic charm and material study, simple, utilitarian, could clearly be executed.
M.C. Escher’s Home Office
Many of us have found ourselves trying to fit our typical office spaces into our existing homes. The result was many working out of our attic, garage, closet, or other spaces in our homes that did not impede on our home lives. And yet no space in the home is safe from every child, pet, spouse, and roommate who we share our lives with. What be-came apparent was that locking ourselves in a closed off corner and pretending that the 1-1/2"-thick door was enough to maintain a work life balance was not working as cleanly as it could.
This idea proposes not one closed off space, but a series of open pockets divided not by walls but by floor heights. These pockets can be individually customized and have an almost infinite configuration possibilities. In the scheme shown, the elevation for the spaces allows open entry and connector spaces that lead to a much more private sunken space. The variety of choice in work space and allowance for different amounts of social interaction allows for a healthier work life balance and an increase in productivity. One space might be more well used nearing a deadline, while another is better suited to keeping an eye on the kids or pets.
Fun proposal that uses sectional changes in floor level to divide space, not walls as seen in other proposals. Particularly like the idea of being raised above pets and children.
Mar Vista Home Office
In 1947, Gregory Ain created a new model of afford-able housing in Los Angeles known as the Mar Vista Tract housing project. The modernist design relied heavily on the use of movable partitions to create a generic plan that was completely customizable by the resident based on preference or need. The kitchen could be either open to the living room or be a completely closed off room. The bedrooms could be divided into three small rooms or opened up as two or even just one large room.
This idea uses the precedent of Mar Vista Tract to create a single customizable room. The scheme proposes the ability to open or close the room to the rest of the house as well as to the outdoors. Not just the walls, but also the floor and ceiling become moving surfaces to allow for open or closed spaces to suit the occupants wants and needs. The ability to customize space on a whim allows for better focus and mind space based on creating environments that promote wellness specific to an individual’s preference. The ability to change the home working environment also provides for a better work life balance as the space can adapt based on the priorities of the occupant.
Great story and precedent inspiration. Gregory Ain was ahead of his time with the ability to add flexibility into your everyday environment, the home. Simplicity and not having any over-decoration help to create focus. Adaptability and flexibility are found within the Mar Vista.
Lifepods are a series of modular pods designed to house every facet of your life: eat, sleep, work, play, store, entertain. The pods can be arranged together on a site for a full living experience, or can be placed separately on already occupied sites as additions. Here we take a look at the work pod and its potential use as a home office suite to maintain work-life balance or find new work-from-home space in an already crowded house. The work pod is a bulbous concrete room sitting within an orthogonal wooden shell whose cantilevered edge provides shade and a reduction of direct solar gain through the window.
The work pod focuses on a connection to the outdoors through its expansive, curved pop-out window that also supports the oversized curved desktop. This pushes a third of the 30" deep desk out of the room, freeing up floor space and keeping the office feeling open while maintaining plenty of under-desk room for your legs. The curved concrete exterior wall softens room edges and creates a natural elevated resting spot for your feet. The work pod features plenty of room for a bookcase or filing cabinets along the rear exterior wall and comes equipped with a half-bath to add convenience and reduce trips back to the living quarters during your workday.
Very legible proposal with complete orthographic and perspective drawings and a deliberate consideration of materials and ergonomics.
Ian Vaughn, AIA
The existing surfaces were evaluated the use of our guest room in our home. With the threat of Covid, overnight stays from family and friends were no longer a necessity. However, working from home was. I used the current space of the guest room to reimagine the office and divide the space up into two zones designated by a material change within the room. The material change creates the work surface. It also creates a warmth in the room which provides a calm and quaint place to work. The existing window provides morning sun which illuminates the space during the morning hours. The bookshelves allow for ample space of reference books that would be in a traditional office. One of the biggest features of the work surface is how it contains space to conceal all the wires that would be necessary for all of the modern office equipment (computer, printer, cables, cameras and projectors). One of the most unique features to the work surface is the green screen backdrop. This backdrop is used to create a background that is desirable to the employee. The “work surface” concept evaluates which work surfaces we would have in the office and then reorganizes them within the context of the typical size of a small room in a house.
A practical design solution to a problem we have all faced. The unifying wrapper is a good concept.