“Offices Structured like College Campuses are Rejuvenating Workplace Design.”
I was at University, flicking through my tutors copy of FRAME Magazine, when something really interesting stuck out to me as I thought that it would be relevant to my final major project design of a Business and Hospitality Hub.
“In the United States, corporations are employing the type of structure found on College Campuses to stimulate innovative thinking.”
In 2011, the President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard invited David Belt to visit the building, which was then a deserted iron shell. David, the founder of Macro Sea, has a flair for bringing historic buildings back into cultural relevance. The original use of the building was a machine shop for every major ship that was launched during WW1 and WW2.
With the historical significance of the site and the present day needs of the design and manufacturing community, this provides them with access to the tools, equipment and space that is required for the present day manufacturing challenges. When designing the New Lab, Macro Sea needed to learn and consider the companies and the technologies that would be taking up residence in the work space. A plan was developed to transform the disused machine shop into a multidisciplinary design, prototyping and advanced manufacturing hub.
The interior space of the building is made up of 84,000 Square Feet and is home to over 70 different companies. The space consists of many private and shared studios that range in size from 300 – 8000 square feet. Each of the studios is designed to meet the expanding needs of growing companies with 5 – 60 employees while maintaining the access to New Labs shared resources, facilities and its community. New Lab is open 24/7 so the companies have access to their private and the shared facilities at all times.
The New Lab building has multiple uses and different types of spaces, the main use being a workplace for many companies, with private and shared office space, conference rooms, event spaces, breakout spaces, kitchens, cafe and relaxation spaces all with different types of seating where people can work and communicate with each other.
The Event Space – The building also has an event space that functions as a communication and presentation space, this is used by the New Lab community and the wider public community. It is a space where companies can launch new products, host business networking events and demonstrate new technologies that they have developed. It is a configurable space that also accommodates lectures and workshops.
Meeting Rooms and Breakout Spaces – New Lab has a combination of dedicated conference rooms and many configurable breakout spaces that can be reserved by employees using the New Lab Members App. All of these spaces are fully equipped with digital displays and conferencing capabilities.
Cafe and Kitchen Space – New Lab is home to a full service cafe from Chef’s Club by food and wine. It is a great place for generating conversation and communication within the New Lab community which promotes collaborative experiences. There is also a small self service kitchen area available and a in house catering service to provide catering for small or large meetings.
My Thoughts and Why this could be a Precedent for my FMP?
There are many reasons why I am considering New Lab as a precedent for my FMP. The interior design behind New Lab really seems to rejuvenate the workplace and this is something that I would like to achieve – combining business with hospitality.
Semi Open Plan – The space at New Lab is semi open plan and I would like certain areas of my building to be relatively open plan, free flowing spaces. I would like to create spaces where people can choose where they want to work – do they want a formal work space or a relaxed work space – let them choose.
Multiple Uses – There are multiple uses within the building at New Lab such as lobby style areas, cafe, event spaces, kitchens, work spaces, relaxation spaces, food spaces etc. for use by the staff and sometimes public visitors. My building will have multiple uses that are open to many, there will be work spaces, hot desking, retail, restaurants, bars, leisure areas and possibly a small boutique hotel.
Lighting – The New Lab building uses lots of natural and artificial light within their spaces, especially natural light coming through the glass facade. For my design, in some of the areas, I would like to maximise the use of natural and artificial light – this will apply within the work spaces, a restaurant and possibly some of the leisure areas within my design.
Seating – Throughout the New Lab building, there are multiple seating types and arrangements that could be used for different things. When designing my space, I would like to consider different seating arrangements and types – from formal seating, to hot desk type seating, to comfortable relaxed seating for more relaxed work, to pure relaxation seating. It will give people the choice of how they would like to sit when they work and how they would like to sit when they are not working – this applies to the business element and the hospitality element to my design.
Greenery – New Lab has a small amount of greenery within the space that brings a bit of the outside in which assists with relaxation and clean healthy air. I would like to add some elements of greenery to my design possibly in the work space areas and some of the hospitality areas that lend themselves to relaxation such as maybe a roof garden and relaxed office areas.
Accent Colours – New Lab adds vibrancy to the quite neutral and tonal colour palette of the materials, by adding accent colours through brightly coloured furniture such as seating, desks and rugs. The greenery also brings added colour to the space. In my space, I would like to add small amounts of colour to a reasonably neutral colour palette through the furniture and accessories, I will add colour as I feel appropriate for the design and the user group demographic that my design is aimed at.
For more information on New Lab, please visit their website: