Japanese project shows how to recycle worn-out office blocks

Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing marks World Architecture Day with a look at a sustainable workplace scheme that is a masterclass in reuse, and explores the future of the digital wallet

To mark World Architecture Day – held this week on Monday 3 October 2022 – we thought we’d share a Japanese project that lives up the event’s purpose to celebrate great architectural works and the brilliant people who design them.

Japan is seeing increasing demand for mid-sized high-end office spaces. However, many of its office buildings are now 30 years old or more, meaning that landlords may struggle to meet the demands of the contemporary workspace market.

‘This is an exemplar for how to meet the demands of the contemporary workspace market….’

Japanese architecture studio Nori Architects has completed an exemplar for how this problem might be approached in a retrofit of the concrete-framed Good Cycle Building in Nagoya prefecture. The renovation was completed for construction company Asanuma Corporation, which wanted a flagship space that would demonstrate its commitment to sustainable retrofits.

Retaining the concrete frame, Nori Architects used whole cedar logs, earth plaster and waste materials to transform the space. Cuts in the floor plates have opened up the interiors, with the façade curtain wall stripped away and replaced with a stack of planted balconies. Waste materials were used throughout, with the earth plaster made using leftover soil from other Asanuma Corporation sites.

Consideration was given throughout to circularity of materials, maximising the potential for subsequent reuse or return to the earth. The resulting building is warm, inviting and tactile, providing a masterclass in reuse.

To see more outstanding architectural projects that reflect the ethos of World Architecture Day, see Imogen Privett’s report in our Innovation Zone. These include a project by American architecture studio CookFox Architect with British engineering company Buro Happold to develop a prototype facade system that can house small wildlife and plants (see main image).

To access the Innovation Zone, join WORKTECH Academy as a member here.

What can digital wallets offer?

Technology buffs are wondering if the digital wallet, which is currently a focus for innovation, might hold the key to the future of work?

According to new research by CB Insights, not only will the digital wallet of the future hold your ID, passport and access pass to your office, it will store biometric data, medical records, important documents and credit and debit cards. This will make access control and work-related payments easier.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an increased need for contactless payment and access control solutions as people tried to limit physical contact within commercial and office spaces. As a result the digital wallet industry boomed, with more companies adopting contactless, cardless or biometric solutions for access control and payment.

‘Employees will be able to share documents with collaborators safely, quickly and easily while on the go…’

Now, the vision for digital wallets is that security will find it easier to identify staff and visitors from their digital ID cards and biometric information, making their entrance into the workplace seamless. And employees will be able to store and share documents with collaborators safely, quickly and easily while on the go, streamlining the collaboration experience.

If implemented well, digital wallets could help reduce fraud and protect the safety of office spaces.  Digital wallets could also be stored in wearable or implantable technology, which makes the risk of staff losing or forgetting their phone and being unable to enter the building far less of a concern. But will the reality match the vision? Review The Future of the Wallet report by CB Insights here.

The State of Hybrid survey

As organisations move beyond planning and strategy this autumn to implement hybrid working policies on the ground, it is essential to get a sense of how things are developing.

That is why WORKTECH Academy has launched its ‘State of Hybrid’ survey, canvassing all our members, partners and subscribers in the WORKTECH network. We want to understand the key motivators for returning to the office and the enablers of hybrid working. What can organisations around the world do to facilitate new ways of working in the future?

This WORKTECH Academy survey aims to highlight what is currently being done in organisations versus what is desired. It is supported by multinational communication and collaboration technology firm Poly, a Corporate Member of the Academy.

Take part in our short ‘State of Hybrid’ survey here.

Seattle sets the scene

If you’re interested in the issues raised in this WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing, you might like to check out WORKTECH’s global events calendar.

This month WORKTECH Seattle will be taking place on Thursday 20 October 2022 and will feature speakers from Microsoft, Gensler, Twilio, NetApp, Starbucks and many more.

A highlight session from NBBJ and Bungie Games will outline the state of hybrid in Bungie’s new headquarters, which has pivoted post-pandemic to support new ways of working, with a focus on company culture and digital collaboration.

Learn more about the full conference agenda and book your ticket here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. This edition is posted 5 October 2022.
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