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Your weekend read

Once again, the debate for and against open-plan workplaces rages. It’s a great time to grab this book.

Published in 2014, Cubed is a terrifically written exploration of the way office space and skyscraper architecture has been manipulated to reflect the twists and turns of the workplace.

Nikil Saval gives the reader a history lesson, a civics class and a lot of laughs with the office design as the main character. Things we take for granted now are exposed as cockamamie one-man missions totally made up hundreds of years ago. Like the rise of the efficiency expert Fredrick Taylor who put a stopwatch on everything and everyone. Saval then takes us to the modern-day workplace where the original 1958 German idea of "Burolandschaft", translation: Office landscape and real-world translation of: open plan design, sways back and forth in public opinion as to whether it is better or worse for productivity.


He also looks at the work of the famous skyscraper architect, Louis Sullivan in Chicago. Sullivan’s love of the bee hive shape, or as he called it “cell.” It arrived around the time he coined the now familiar term, “form follows function.” The envelopes of his buildings were designed to meld to the shape of the standard size and shape of a hexagon. Easy for moving any organization in and out. It turned out to be less about workers working efficiently and more about making it easy for real estate speculators to put anyone with any kind of organization on the lease.

Anarchy, equal rights, fascism and socialism all play their parts in the drama of creating indoor spaces where humans can do their work.

You'll be educated and entertained by this very enjoyable book that explores the secrets behind the physical office environment.


Julie Pithers

DIRTTbag since (almost) day one, Julie cultivates communities who love DIRTT as much as she does. She cares about environmental sustainability, optimism and finding things funny.


DIRTT Environmental Solutions uses its 3D software to create prefabricated interiors. Each space is tailored to our clients' needs. Manufacturing facilities are located in Phoenix, Savannah and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 construction partners globally. DIRTT trades on Nasdaq under the symbol “DRTT” and on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “DRT”.