The post-COVID-19 era has presented us with the challenge of re-imagining the workspace and has accelerated a change in the relationship between employer and employee that will require a more flexible approach to the concept of “place of work”.
In this context, Transport Scotland and the Government are investing in the identification of solutions for creating localised and accessible workplace hubs. Their strategic objectives are to:
- reduce the carbon footprint of commuter transport by creating opportunities for ‘NearHome’ working solutions
- repurpose vacant spaces in retail environments and on High Streets/Town Centres
- meet the Government’s sustainability and circular economy targets.
Satellite offices and co-working hub concepts have been gaining traction for some time and the idea of re-purposing vacant space is a powerful one. However, without clarity on the viability or long- term need for these spaces there is a risk of adopting the typical approach to fit-out that is both wasteful and unsustainable.
The NearHome (NH) product seeks to challenge such an approach and propose a new, highly sustainable way of delivering this typology of space.
This study supports a larger commission that is exploring a demonstrator project at Unit 26 in the East Kilbride Shopping Centre. The study also informs a wider narrative on how the product can be rolled out to multiple locations and sites to deliver on strategic client objectives.
The toolkit, which will be freely available to businesses and construction firms, centres around a kit-of-parts structure that can be installed quickly and with minimal interference for the building’s external fabric. It will also offer a solution for buildings that may have previously been considered too difficult or costly to retrofit.
Sustainability is also a core element of the design, with a kit made from Scottish timber that can be easily deconstructed and re-used if required. Increased use of homegrown timber – across all areas of construction – could have a significant impact on the sector’s carbon footprint by reducing the reliance on imported materials and making the most of natural resources.
Threesixty has provided Architectural Services to support Ecosystems (Lead Designer) in the preparation of this Feasibility Study with a focus on:
- Developing design proposals as a prototype for Unit 26
- Developing a typical design approach founded on placemaking principles that can be applied across a variety of sites
- Coordinating the overall layout with other specialist designers in the team
- Considering the next steps and future challenges for progressing both the prototype and the wider NH to the next stages of design and delivery.