But what do you do with the outdated company head office whose industrial era company hierarchy is visible even from outside? Even chief character Bernd Stromberg, from Germany’s equivalent of “The Office”, wouldn’t want to work there. Not to mention Generation Y, which in addition to a modern corporate culture also expects a contemporary work space and appealing environment.
Doing one’s daily job of work sitting in an “Old School” building from 9-to-5?
Not on your life.
The transformation of the economy and society means that project developers and property owners have a job on their hands if they want to offer the next generation of tenants appropriate premises. After all, as of now it is only digital natives who (still) have to work in offices conceived in the analog era.
Happy buildings are the next evolutionary stage
And there is no time to be lost. According to the UN Report on the World Population Situation, between now and 2050 the urban population will double from around 3 billion to more than 6 billion people. The current infrastructure will struggle to cope with this increase.
Rob Speyer, President and Co-Chief Executive Officer at Tishman Speyer in New York, got to the heart of the situation in his fiery advocacy for the development of cities worth living in at this year’s ULI Urban Leader Summit in Frankfurt/Main, when he asked the audience:
“What are we building today? Offices in which people work?
Or offices in which they want to work?”
Migration and climate change are necessitating a fundamental rethink in the planning of cities and buildings. What is more, technological progress is in the process of turning the traditional real estate world on its head. Speyer advocates thinking beyond the horizon of Green Buildings reduced to mere energy efficiency and designing “Happy Buildings” aligned with user needs and which foster a sense of community. Work, education, leisure, retail, recreation, mobility – the office building as a “cluster of possibilities”, not a solitary, single-use property. The property professional is convinced that those who do not quickly adapt to the changed parameters will have considerable problems letting offices over the next 5 to 10 years.
Risk factor old property
Is all this just scaremongering? Not a bit of it. As long as 1½ years ago, Dr. Thomas Beyerle investigated the paradigm shift in office use in Germany and vividly described the influence new working worlds are having on offices. American tech giants’ work places illustrate what the future is about: it’s about community and collaboration, invariably coupled with a resource-friendly lifestyle. A brilliant example of this is the “Salesforces Tower” in San Francisco, currently taking shape in the vicinity of the newly redeveloped Transbay Transit Area. With a price tag of around 1 billion US dollars, project developers Hines and Boston Properties are building the 326 meter high, 127,000 square meter landmark building, which from 2018 onwards will be the international headquarters of the provider of cloud computing solutions.