This dissertation examines the relationship between corporate environments and leisure activities in the reorganisation of work in tech industries. Activities traditionally associated with leisure have become subservient to work and interiorised in the workspace. With this, a new work experience has emerged. The research investigates how the architectural re-configuration of the corporate workspace through furniture layouts and spatial design makes evident a progressive regulation of social interaction. Informal interactions become a basis of work productivity by adapting private habits in the corporate environment. This interrelation of private and work life is particularly evident in the Silicon Valley. Project-based working and project management relies on efficient interaction within teams, with leisure providing protocols and a collective ethos that enhance trust and regulate social interaction.
The thesis studies the significance of leisure’s institutionalisation in France and Germany in the 1930s. Leisure was instrumental to foster national identity by collectivising originally private habits. With the advent of mass tourism, the tourist village created a new shared lifestyle. It was an architectural paradigm of how private activities, such as eating, playing and sleeping, become collective. Later corporate management adopted this idea of the collective as productive. Productivity was seen as an outcome of a social system in which protocols of leisure played a cohesive role.
Responding to these economic and spatial transformations, the dissertation rethinks the formation of protocols in relation to live-work cycles. By establishing a collective ethos through shared routines, the project mitigates hierarchies, embracing a new corporate management style. The design investigation hereby returns to elements of the village as spatial framework to transform the workspace. The urban condition of the village, not only in the sense of co-existence of life and work but also through its architectural elements, already exists in the tech industry headquarter. It is therefore exploited in a new model that contrast with the spatial and programmatic division of the American suburb as expressed by Silicon Valley. The proposed multi-scalar and strategic reconfiguration raises new questions regarding the regulation of private protocols for production.
Proposal for the new Google Campus by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, California.
American time use survey and leisure dedicated space in corporate environment
Diagram showing the shift of social protocols from distribution to furniture arrangement.
Club Méditerraée village in Corfú, Greece: Programmatic distribution, programmatic plan and collective activities
Bacarès-Leucatte, France, by Geoge Candilis. View of the village ‘Houses associated with Boats. Plan and infrastructural diagram of Port Leucate, Bacares-Leucatte, France