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l'ARCA, № 4 (246), April, 2009

 In this latest issue of the magazine we will be taking a look at how architecture has, over the last few decades, constantly undergone major structural and stylistic changes in building types serving various different purposes in the working world. Whereas in the past designers focused most of their creative skills on the representational and also monumental image of the outside appearance of a building and its spaces open to the public, from the mid-20th century onwards clients and architects suddenly realised that even spaces designed for temporarily accommodating staff and management do not necessarily have to go on simply taking up their designated premises, but could also become architectural structures and surfaces in their own right, featuring the kind of environmental standards and comfort appropriate for newly emerging needs. At last inhabited spaces serving production purposes (with all their aesthetic and emotional features) was no longer geared solely to efficient output, they were adapted to the new staff lifestyles, creating new and more stimulating aesthetically in tune with the values of modernity and modern-day society, which companies must inevitably comply to if they are to maintain their market position. Since large communal spaces, beginning with the rather debatable invention of the "officescape" guaranteed no individuality, over recent years the possibility of making working environments more homely and friendly has finally been taken into consideration, even devoting areas of landscaping and relaxation where staff can enjoy their breaks. Architects were the first to adopt these guidelines and have been committed all over the world to designing increasingly warm and welcoming architectural structures, which, whenever possible, are interactive with the natural environment, very often providing a foretaste of the urban image cities will inevitably take on in the near future. While awaiting the development of work from home or the virtual office, most of our life is spent in buildings which, in any case, need to be sustainable along more than just energy lines (currently an absolute priority). They must also be a democratically sustainable since they must be sustainable for us all, without creating "stupid" spatial solutions or barriers, like those we have always had to put up with in the past, such as, for example, stylistic designs based around a central corridor with endless offices leading off to the right and left. The high standards of design and efficiency characterising all the electronic extensions and means of communication which surround us during our working day constantly convey a powerful message about contemporary aesthetics, without ever lapsing into weak stylistic solutions or nostalgia for a tradition which once set down relations between architecture, instruments, the environment and work exclusively in terms of achieving maximum productivity and profitability, ignoring the cultural and domestic habits and customs of people, who were forced to accept what they were given without having any choice in the matter. These observations inevitably give rise to the consideration that, starting last century and for obvious economic reasons on the part of clients, our creative and innovative efforts have mainly focused on innovating buildings devoted to corporate work and a "festive" company image rather than urban and residential architecture, which, for democratic reasons, should always be of a high building standard, energy-efficient and aesthetically geared to modern-day society (for all of us).

Cesare Maria CasatiIn attesa del lavoro virtuale - While awaiting virtual work
Maurizio VittaLavoro: una cultura in mutamento - Work: a changing culture
Mitchell JoachimAgora - Dreams And Visions
Imma ForinoDall?open space all?home office - Evolution of the Office Space
Dante O. Benini & Partners ArchitectsIl luogo del fare - DOPB Studio, Milan
Massimiliano e Doriana FuksasFater, Pescara
Dante O. Benini & Partners ArchitectsAbdi Ibrahim Pharmaceuticals HQ, Istanbul
Vasconi Associes, Jean PetitDexia Tower, Esch-Belval
Foster and PartnersHearst Tower, New York
MCA-Mario Cucinella ArchitectsNew 3M Headquarters, Pioltello (MI)
Massimo MarianiCabel Industry, Empoli
BRT ArchitektenLa nuova sede Frener & Reifer, Bressanone (BZ)
Camerana & Partners, AI Studio/AI EngineeringUrban Center, Rivarolo Canavese (TO)
.Idee&Materia - Ideas Matter
Elena CardaniOffice Design
.l`Arca 2
.News - Dossier

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