Hubs + gathering places

Despite the role of virtual connection, face-to-face is valued as much it ever was - probably more so. ZZA's work continues to explore the scope for productive interchange + social capital at the intersections of functions, spaces + different user groups.

Best in class workspace

The nature of workspace changes with the impacts of technology and cultural change. With its rich range of public, private and third sector enterprises, London is a crucible of evolving practice. As the Expert Assessor for New London Architecture's recent 2017 Workplace Awards, Ziona Strelitz engaged with the rich array of design and practice evidenced by 32 submissions of leading workplaces that variously accommodate a range of just seven to 3500 people.

Expert Review: harnessing research knowledge

Evidence-based research informs next steps on given buildings that are studied, but the accumulated repertoire of knowledge from many successive studies affords a valuable resource to analyse any building. It is this that ZZA is called on to apply in our expert assessments of workplaces - both existing and proposed. Currently we've been providing this service on two public sector office campuses, generating output to guide the occupier organisation in aligning their space with evolving business requirements as the influences of technology, demography and cultural change alter work practices and user expectations.

Tall buildings: changing perspectives

Well before the sharp refocus on tall building design prompted by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, ZZA has been re-evaluating the urban issues relating to tall typologies. Developing the thinking she first presented to the Seventh International Conference on Tall Buildings at University of Hong Kong in 2009 - 'Tall buildings' contribution to sustainable urbanisation + growth: less take, more give', Ziona led the introduction to the final week of the IDBE Master's course at Cambridge University, with a synoptic overview and critique providing briefing considerations for tall building design.

Forging synergies - today's ubiquitous goal

Ask any organisation how they're looking to add value. The words you'll hear are 'serendipity', 'chance meetings' + 'cross-fertilisation'. Judge any workplace award + what you'll see is design intended to promote these encounters. But the only way to learn if + how synergies are actually forged, is through research at the coalface. ZZA has long studied just this. Our latest research is with staff in two organisations of the UK Parliament, to learn if + how sharing a building has influenced collaboration, and explore what the occupants see as as relevant to working still more smartly.

Only connect - research story

ZZA recently studied research in a new academic setting conceived to facilitate knowledge transfer. Our Post Occupancy Evaluation at LSE LIFE, a linked suite of spaces forming a curated learning environment in the London School of Economics' main Library, is 'now published in summary form.

Betwixt cup + lip: academia + practice

What do we learn from the respective domains of practice + academia? ZZA has always bridged the two, undertaking rigorous empirical research to inform well-grounded practice + design strategy. Ziona Strelitz combines these perspectives in a new paper + presentation for the Conference on Professional Practices in the Built Environment at the University of Reading. In Spaces for interaction: empirical evidence on spatial realities versus supplier mantra, she challenges widespread procurement assumptions with critical insight drawn from research, citing spatial conditions that promote interaction in practice.

In 'The Physical Workplace and Work-Life Balance', recently published in Work-life balance in times of recession, austerity and beyond, Ziona addresses the aspects that really matter in healthy workplace environments, including the questions of whether + how these change in more stringent times.

Presenting New London Architecture's 2017 Award for best Unbuilt Workplace to Spring Place, Ziona Strelitz with the architects Piercy&Company, at NLA's splendid event at London's Guildhall (top + second right © Agnese Sanvito). The winning project, Spring Place, demonstrating exemplary urban intensification with finely lit workspace ideal for co-working or smaller organisations, on a tight site close to a rail connection in North London (third + fourth right © Piercy&Company)

Small workplaces are important to economic growth and sustainable lifestyles, but some workplaces are necessarily big. ZZA's previous news featured Sky's new HQ at Osterley, and amongst its range of accolades, Sky Central has now also won this year's NLA Awards for the best Built Workplace. The large building by HASSELL, AL_A and PLP Architecture offers a sense of fluidity in its circulation and sight lines, provides excellent daylight, affords human scale through a range of varied work settings - many enriched by imaginative use of plants, and promotes walking - realising today's agenda for 'Active by Design'. (left, top, second + third © ZZA Responsive User Environments).

With rising interest in wellbeing, workplace 'greening' - aka biophilia - is increasingly evident. Fourth left: two of the many planted settings at Sky's new HQ in Osterley. Seventh left: the newly planted 'outdoor breakout space' to complement the light-filled interior of the iconic Schlumberger Building (sixth left). Fifth right: the green atrium wall in Cambridge Conservation Initiative's (CCI) excellently remodelled building. Sixth + seventh right: verdant aspect from the Sainsbury Laboratory, which maximises views to the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
All images © ZZA Responsive User Environments, except Sainsbury Laboratory © Stanton Williams.

Highlights 2016

responsive user environments