Element Studios

Spontaneous Work Systems 

“In 30 or 40 years we will be amazed to see how un-livable where the office spaces of today.”

In the last decades there has been a degeneration of the “Action Office”, a model generated in the 60‘s by Robert Propst, resulting on a series of homogeneous, universal, anonymous and repetitive spaces, which form a deficient spatial response for today’s working space needs.

Today, working shapes and formats shift rapidly, the constant redefinition of collaboration, privacy, and the increasing interest for the well being of workers, are directly related to the environments where we work in. Places where today, change and adaptation are always a constant.

For Element Studios, Manada architecture was seeking to generate an inspiring space that encourages random encounters among the workers of a creative agency, looking always to generate “spontaneous collaboration spaces”.

“We find the most complex schemes of human interaction in collaboration,” says Alejandro Tapia of Manada. “And within the search for materials and technologies to shape different, friendly, ecological, recyclable, transformable and adaptable spaces, we designed a series of reconfigurable spaces where users can choose the type of space they will need to perform their tasks, based on parameters like physical needs of the space, number of collaborators, type of collaborators, and soon”.

The project they created for Element Studios manages the program through the “flexible band”, which is capable of hosting the totality of activities thanks to its capacity for adaptation and permeability without losing the capacity for tension, or become impermeable and fragment in smaller spaces if needed. The total project’s surface is 964 m2, due to a restricted budget only 316 m2 were “activated” by the proposal, but as Manada was able to stack a second layer in it, they generated a total of 1,281 m2 of usable surface.

The tight execution calendar (16 weeks from commission of the project, to project development, construction, and completion), functionality, economy and construction speed were an essential part of the itinerary and the way we tackled the execution. Paradoxically the spaces get “free” by the definition of different work “stages” that lack obvious formal hierarchies. The “flexible band” that integrates the intervention is shaped by 174 prefab, lightweight and structural wood panels. These panels create the space when they get installed on site and resolve the program needs by their shape and great capacity for adaptation to the original space, which is one of the priorities we efficiently wanted to solve.