How Architects and Designers Shifted Focus During the Pandemic

This article is originally from the Commercial Observer, published December 05, 2023.

Architects and designers are adapting to the changing landscape of office spaces in response to the rapid amenitization trend since the start of the pandemic, adding amenities to make offices more attractive. No longer solely focused on constructing buildings, prominent architecture firms are redirecting resources to create office spaces that function not only as workspaces but also as attractions for remote workers.

Scott Rechler, CEO of RXR, emphasizes the merging of office, hospitality, and home, reflecting a shift in perspective. RXR’s WorxWell platform exemplifies this approach, incorporating amenities like kitchens and sitting areas into workspaces to make them more appealing to returning workers.

Some Projects are thoughtfully considering the evolving work model, emphasizing collaboration and partnerships to enhance the overall work experience. Others are simply trying to keep up with industry trends, leading to increased expenses for property owners.

Tom Vecchione, Vocon Vice Chairman & Managing Principal, highlights the need for extensive property overhauls, moving beyond standard amenities to elevate buildings from a B-plus to an A or an A-plus. The focus is on creating inviting and well-located spaces.

Collaboration is key, with architects working closely with interior designers to revitalize aging buildings and make them competitive in the current market. The emphasis on amenities and redesigned offices has become a crucial aspect of attracting and retaining tenants.

Notable Projects, such as the transformation of Black Rock at 51 West 52nd Street, showcase the successful collaboration between architecture and interior design firms to create appealing spaces. The redesign, true to Eero Saarinen’s original vision, has contributed to Black Rock’s increased occupancy and desirability.

Overall, the architectural and design industry is evolving to meet the demands of the modern workforce, focusing on creating attractive, functional, and collaborative office spaces that go beyond traditional work environments.