Since its doors opened in 1997 in downtown Seattle’s Columbia Seafirst Tower, more than 6,000 leaders from business, academia, and government have experienced the power of real estate through Future @ Work™, a resource-rich environment that shows companies how to sustain business, people, and the environment through wise investment in incremental, adaptable strategies. Specifically, the exhibit showcases options that satisfy short-term needs as part of a long-term vision.
However, the Office of the Future Consortium – a non-profit group of more than 90 regional, national, and international businesses involved in its launch and long-term sponsorship – soon discovered that “in order to keep learning, we had to keep building.”
In early 2000, the exhibit was temporarily closed while the Consortium created the second-generation demonstration of integrated design and management approaches to the workplace. Several leading businesses play a principal part in the new Future @ Work, including Callison Architecture, Sparling, Turner Construction, Steelcase, and Barclay Dean, with contribution from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.
Opened in May 2001 in its new location in downtown Seattle’s City Centre Building, this next-generation Future @ Work continues to explore how changing business factors, new technology, and insight into corporate sociology can help build a more sustainable and prosperous future. According to Andrea Vanecko, a founding member of the Consortium and Callison principal, “It demonstrates a depth of integrated expertise that is unprecedented in the design, engineering, and construction industry. Future @ Work is a place that business can go to stop, breathe, and think before they do the most costly – act.”
Future @ Work incorporates green design solutions as part of its mission to demonstrate ways for the workplace to balance the needs of people, business, and the environment. Innovative ways to handle energy, waste, materials, air quality, and integration are at its sustainability core, with a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design by the U.S. Green Building Council) Gold standard targeted. Of particular interest is the customized garbage disposal that allows on-site separation of recyclables from general debris; an HVAC system as an extension of the base building system; lighting systems designed to meet productivity, comfort, efficiency, flexibility, and integration goals; and a wide variety of materials that contain low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and/or have been salvaged, reused, or contain a significant percentage of post-consumer recycled material. With established sustainability goals at the project’s onset and an established ongoing research and development agenda with multi-discipline participants, the interactive exhibit helps end-users explore such questions as:
• How can a company make sure its investment in office space, technology, and workforce is spent wisely?
• Regardless of the type of building occupied, how can building tenants conserve energy, reduce waste, and improve air quality?
• How can a company create sustainable migration strategies around the needs of its business, workforce, and technology?
• How do business owners reconcile the dual needs of staff privacy and collaboration?Future @ Work will be open through July 2003. Call (206) 484-4004 or visit (www.future-at-work.org). It’s definitely worth the trip.