Adaptive Architecture: the Robotic Orchestration of a Healthy Workplace

How will office workers use a robotic partition that changes the layout of their office?

It has become clear that a post-pandemic workplace should facilitate functions that cannot be supported remotely, such as establishing and maintaining a shared social culture, supporting longer-duration team activities, and providing a personal space for focused work. The currently dominant “flexible” office consisting of moveable furniture is unable to host these post-pandemic expectations because the presence and activities of workers is too unpredictable for office facility teams to constantly adapt for. We thus propose that the post-pandemic office therefore should become “adaptable”: (pro-)actively reshaping itself around the actual needs in the moment. However, recognising these dynamic needs in a timely way, and measuring the actual impact of the resulting adaptations on the wellbeing of employees still forms an open challenge.

This research will ascertain whether a spatial configuration can be dynamically adapted to increase the individual and communal wellbeing of its occupants, for which we use the proxy of social-spatial comfort. The underlying premise is that the impact of distinct spatial configuration features on socio-spatial comfort (see state-of-the-art section) can be combined and actively applied in a purposeful way. At the least we expect an adaptive workplace to overcome the physical, social and cultural inhibitions of occupants to (pro-)actively optimise their workplace. At the most we expect an adaptive workplace to nudge new ways of social interaction and communication between occupants (and between occupants and the spatial adaptations). This hypothesis can only be evaluated by solving three multidisciplinary research questions that cross the disciplines of robotic technology (prof. Herman Bruyninckx), occupational wellbeing (prof. Lode Godders), and architecture (prof. Andrew Vande Moere).


Binh Vinh Duc Nguyen, Jihae Han, and Andrew Vande Moere. 2022. Towards Responsive Architecture that Mediates Place: Recommendations on How and When an Autonomously Moving Robotic Wall Should Adapt a Spatial Layout. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 6, CSCW2, Article 467 (November 2022), 27 pages.


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