Citation
The human element

Material Information

Title:
The human element privacy and communication in office design
Creator:
Hensley, Sherryn Ruth
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Offices -- Design and construction ( lcsh )
Interior architecture ( lcsh )
Privacy ( lcsh )
Communication in design ( lcsh )
Work environment ( lcsh )
Communication in design ( fast )
Interior architecture ( fast )
Offices -- Design and construction ( fast )
Privacy ( fast )
Work environment ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 110-111).
General Note:
College of Architecture and Planning
Statement of Responsibility:
by Sherryn Ruth Hensley.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
47806765 ( OCLC )
ocm47806765
Classification:
LD1190.A72 2001m .H46 ( lcc )

Full Text


The Human Element:
Privacy and Communication in Office Design
by
Sherryn Ruth Hensley
B. Environmental Design, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1999
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Architecture
2001
til


This thesis for the Master of Architecture
degree by
Sherryn Ruth Hensley
has been approved
by
5/b/o!
Date


Hensley, Sherryn Ruth (Master of Architecture)
The Human Element: Privacy and Communication in Office Design
Thesis directed by Professor Joseph Juhasz
Abstract
The human element is elusive and often not included in the
planning phase of an architectural project. For the purpose of this thesis,
the human element is defined as the ways in which humans respond to
their built environment based on their perceptions of it. This thesis
focuses on the privacy and communication needs of subjects in an
aerospace engineering firm. A variety of methods are used to investigate
the subjects perception of their built environment as well as their concept
of privacy and attitudes regarding privacy issues and authority. The
research leads to the development of a design for a new facility which
attempts to balance the privacy and communication needs of this
particular engineering firm.
The abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Joseph Juhasz


Acknowledgment
My thanks to my family, Mom, Dad, Tim, and husband Dan for your love
and support throughout the entirety of my education.
My thanks to my advisor, Joe Juhasz, for his time, guidance, and
instruction throughout the thesis process. Id also like to thank the
members of my committee and graduate instructors for taking the time to
teach.
My thanks to my subjects at ATA Engineering for volunteering their time
for my research.


Contents
Figures..................................................vii
Chapter
1. The Happiest Place on Earth.............................9
History a Background of Office Design...............11
Designing Offices for Engineers....................20
Conclusion.........................................25
2. Research Methods......................................28
Prototype Selection................................29
Sketch Problem.....................................30
Simulation.........................................31
Interview..........................................32
Questionnaire......................................33
Design.............................................34
Conclusion.........................................36
3. Data Analysis.........................................38
Prototype Selection................................38
Private Office, Single......................39
Home Office.................................40
Private Office, Shared......................41
Open Office.................................41
Cubicle.....................................41
v


Chapter
3. Data Analysis
Sketch Problem...................................42
Lego Simulation..................................44
Interview........................................47
Privacy and Technology.....................48
Communication/ Interaction Issues..........49
Questionnaire....................................52
Conclusion.......................................53
4. Discussion of Implications..........................54
Conclusion.......................................58
5. Case Study..........................................60
A Design for ATA Engineering.....................62
Conclusion.......................................66
6. Conclusion..........................................67
Appendix A: Photographs Used in the Prototype Selection
Appendix B: Lego Pieces Used in the Simulation
Appendix C: Questions Asked in the Interview
Appendix D: The Questionnaire
Appendix E: The Questionnaire Scores
Bibliography


Figures
1.1 A private office system.............................12
1.2 An open office plan.................................13
1.3 The cubicle system..................................14
1.4 Hoteling............................................15
1.5 The ATA Engineering building........................20
2.1 The receptionists Lego model.......................30
2.2 Scheme A proposal as submitted to the client 35
2.3 Scheme B proposal as submitted to the client 35
2.4 Scheme C proposal as submitted to the client 35
3.1 The preference of subjects regarding office type....39
3.2 Example of a single private office..................39
3.3 Example of a home office............................40
3.4 Example of a shared private office..................41
3.5 Sketch with no walls drawn..........................42
3.6 Sketch with walls drawn.............................42
3.7 Items in sketch compared to desired privacy.........44
3.8 Lego model with a moderately open plan..............45
3.9 Lego model with an open plan........................45
3.10 Lego model with a tight plan......................45
3.11 Items drawn in sketch compared to items built
in model..........................................46
3.12 Number of subjects choosing sound proof glass.....48
3.13 ATA Engineering building 1st floor plan...........51
3.14 ATA Engineering building 2nd floor plan...........51
3.15 Questionnaire scores vs. definition of communication .52
vii


Figures
3.16 Lego models of subjects who scored highest in the
"cynic" category..................................53
4.1 Level of privacy desired compared with
windows drawn.....................................55
4.2 The current reception area at ATA Engineering.......57
5.1 An example of a flexible panel system...............61
5.2 Reception area with "living room" scale.............66
6.1 A conceptual diagram of differing levels of privacy.71


Section 1: The Happiest Place on Earth
History and Background of Office
Design
Designing Offices for Engineers
Conclusion


The "Happiest Place on Earth" exists only in memory. Walt Disney
was bom in 1901. He patterned Main Street, USA after the 1890s, an era
that had passed before he was born. Disneyland is a successful created
environment that is created from stories and not reality. Disneyland is a
created environment in the same way movies are a created environment.
One enters Disneyland with similar expectations to entering a movie
theater. One expects to be exposed to and drawn into an environment
and situations that are completely outside and apart from daily life and
then to leave that environment and continue with daily life only being
affected in memory by the previous environment.
Fantasy or Entertainment environments are important to the study
of standard environments because they exist on a much smaller scale and
have a clear desired effect that is either successful or unsuccessful. As a
result, environments like Disneyland are much easier to study and can be
used as models in the study of other environments.
One of the challenges of designing fantasy environments is
anticipating the wants of the users and then manipulating those wants to
produce the desired effect of entertainment. Fantasy environments
anticipate the wants of the user and satisfy those wants by manipulating
the users perception of their environment. In order to manipulate the
users perceptions, the designer must first know what those perceptions
are. Similarly, an architect faces the challenge of discerning the needs
and wants of the client, as well as their perceptions of their current
environment to produce a built environment which is comfortable as well
as efficient.
Both physical and psychological factors affect comfort in the
workplace. Some of the psychological factors are privacy, personal
space, and appropriate levels of interaction with co-workers. "Privacy" is
a broad concept and will be discussed at length later in this document.
The level of privacy that is desired is individual and varies with each
9


situation. Perceived privacy is much more important to comfort than
actual privacy. Instead of being told that they cant be seen or heard, a
person will generally not feel comfortable unless they have visual clues
that intuitively communicate that they have the appropriate level of privacy
for the situation. Personal space is a major factor in perceived privacy.
According to Robert Sommer, each individual has an invisible boundary of
personal space that moves with them.11 This boundary varies with culture
and the relationship of the individual with would be intruders. Discomfort
arises when that boundary is crossed. According to Altman, interaction
varies inversely with personal space.12 For an individual to feel
comfortable, they need to have a degree of control over when and how
much interaction occurs with whom. These are all factors that contribute
to a comfortable level of interaction where one does not feel that privacy is
compromised or personal space invaded.
Physical factors that affect the level of comfort in the workplace
include adequate light, ventilation, and noise control. These factors are
more likely to be addressed in a building program than the psychological
factors because they directly affect the efficiency of the workers. The
physical factors are not just comfort factors but also health factors.
People get headaches from fluorescent lights; an entire office can become
ill resulting from a poor ventilation system; and the constant hum of
electricity and mechanical energy can be distracting, if not harmful to
hearing. Just as an individual desires control over his/ her level of privacy,
an individual needs to have control over his/ her physical environment to
achieve an optimum level of comfort.
1.1 Sommer, Robert. Personal Space The Behavioral Basis For Design. 1969
1.2Altman, Irvin. Environment and Social Behavior. 1975
10


History and Background of Office Design
There are many precedents of architecture that was designed to
meet specific goals. Some of the goals that will be discussed are light,
communication, efficiency, use of available technology, and flexibility.
Each of the cases that will be discussed was developed from a study of a
specific design objective and its application to office design.
An early example of American corporate office design is Frank
Lloyd Wrights Larkin Building built in Buffalo New York in 1904.13
Wrights objective in this design was to create an indoor office
environment that was functional for the flow of mail and as light as the
outdoors. This was done by creating an open plan with a central light
court. The second floor and above had partial-height walls which
provided both a visual connection to the rest of the office and natural light
to each floor.
Andrew Laing gives an excellent summary of the history of office
design over the past fifty years in his essay, "New Patterns of Work: The
Design of the Office".14 The earliest office Laing discusses is the paper
office. In the 1950s most work done in offices was done on paper. The
clerical workers worked in a central open space where they typed
documents and took phone messages. They would then run these
documents and messages to the executives offices along the perimeter.
1.3 Quinan, Jack. Frank Llovd Wrights Larkin Building Myth and Fact. 1987
1,4Andrew Laings essay, ''New Patterns of Work, the Design of the Office" appears in
John Worthingtons book Reinventing the Workplace. 1997
11


Ci.
Figure 1.1 A Private Office System
In 1958 the West German Quickborner team did a study on the flow
of paper as well as visual communication between individuals and groups
in such an office. This study led to the development of a revolutionary
design: the walls were removed and work areas were organized in
concentric circles based on communication patterns.
In the 1960s the "open plan" office was further encouraged when
an office building with a ninety foot depth was made possible by
innovations in heating, ventilation and cooling systems as well as
fluorescent lighting. The deeper buildings provided large, open,
windowless spaces which accommodate the open office plan quite well.
12


r
L

r..
jf>|
r_jQ j
>i
CEL
Figure 1.2 Open Office Plan
In 1967 the "landscaped" office system was adopted by the United
States. As a result, casual meeting places that were formerly enclosed
(coffee room, employee lounge, lunch room, etc.) were dropped and only
the managers and executives had traditional offices with walls.
In 1968 the Herman Miller Action office was developed. The theory
behind this design system was that office furniture should be a highly
adaptable "tool kit" whose parts respond to a variety of office tasks and
the appropriate degree of privacy or communication. This system highly
resembles a cubicle system and assumes high levels of autonomy.
13


Figure 1.3 The Cubicle System
In 1978 surveys performed by the ORganizations, Buildings, and
Information Technology Studies (ORBIT) reported that the open/
landscaped office system did not meet the privacy, environmental control,
or personal identity needs of its users. This study inspired a re-thinking of
the design of office environments.
In the 1980s the trend of "hoteling" began. Spurred on by wireless
technology and information as commodity, the driving concept behind
hoteling is that your office is where you are, and therefore 100% efficient.
If ones work requires an enclosed office in the morning, a conference
room in the afternoon, and a group work table the next day, that individual
has exactly the office they need when they need it and no space is wasted
on work areas that are not being used.
14


Figure 1.4 Hoteling
Scott Adams, the creator of the cartoon character, "Dilbert", has his
own views on the current trends in office design:
Cubicles ... serve as a constant reminder of the employees
marginal value to the company. ...The only drawback to the cubicle
- oriented office is that some employees develop a sense of
"home" in their little patch of real estate. Soon pride of ownership
sets in, then self esteem, and poof goodbye productivity. But
thanks to the new concept of "hoteling", this risk can be eliminated.
Hoteling is a system by which cubicles are assigned to the
employees as they show up each day. Nobody gets a permanent
work space, and therefore no unproductive homey feelings
develop.15
The results of the ORBIT surveys and Scott Adams comments on
the effects of this "user based" design begs the question of "can we really
design office spaces for users?" and secondly, "how do we do it?"
A point that must be made is that an environment designed for
users cannot be completely designed or it will be a failure. In his book,
Tight Spaces: Hard Architecture and How to Humanize It, Robert
Sommer16 argues that for an environment or an object within an
environment to be "created" for its users, ambiguity of use must be
inherent in the design. The user must be able to "break" it or alter it in
1.5 Adams, Scott. The Dilbert Principle. 1996
1.6 Sommer, Robert. Tight Spaces: Hard Architecture and How to Humanize It. 1974
15


some meaningful way. The environment is not meaningful to the user
until the user has made it useful to himself. It is impossible to completely
design an environment that will satisfy all of the needs and wants of the
users throughout time. It is, however, a worthy and achievable goal to
alter certain aspects of an environment for a desired effect. The purpose
of this thesis is to explore alternative approaches to designing for privacy
and communication in an office environment.
The primary objective in office design is to create an efficient work
environment. Although there are conflicting reports on the correlation
between comfort and efficiency, an employees comfort level at work is a
factor in job satisfaction. The major factor in a psychologically
comfortable work environment is the relationships between employees
and the company culture. However, there is a factor of comfort or
discomfort that is connected to the built environment. The architect then
finds himself/ herself in the position of needing to find out what degree of
comfort is appropriate for a given use and what factors will increase or
decrease that level of comfort.
The main difference between a successful fantasy or entertainment
environment and the office environments that Laing presents16 is that the
fantasy environment is created to "delight" to affect the user
psychologically in a specific way. Vitruvius defined good design as
"commodity, firmness, and delight". Delight is an elusive factor in design.
For the purpose of this thesis, "delight" is simplified to "what people like".
According to Vitruvius, delight (what people like or psychological comfort)
is as important to successful building design as commodity and structural
integrity. Peter Brandt modernizes Vitruvius definition of good design as
"convenience, durability, and beauty (the aesthetic values that contribute
to the quality of life of the client)"17. Brandt defines a successful design
1.6 Andrew Laings essay, "New Patterns of Work, the Design of the Office" appears in
John Worthingtons book Reinventing the Workplace. 1997
1.7 Brandt, Peter. Office Design. 1992
16


concept as one that is "functionally efficient, psychologically satisfying,
and uplifting to the spirit." (Brandt then continues by heaping accolades
upon the cubicle system.)
In order for an environment to be psychologically satisfying, as
Brandt suggested, ones perceptions of his environment must be taken
into consideration. According to John Bebner, memories are stored in
their relationships to concrete things17. In large, our emotional responses
to our environment come from our conceptual interpretation of the world.
Proshansky (1978) states that our perception of our environment is based
on our transactions with our environment. For instance, in Bebners work,
when subjects wearing glasses with inverted lenses were asked if a
candle was right side up or upside down, they responded that they "saw"
the candle as upside down. However, when the candle was lit, the
subjects saw that the flame traveled away from the candle instead of back
into the candle, and perceived the candle as right side up. Their eyes told
them that the candle was upside down, but their experiences
(transactions) with lit candles told them that the lit candle must be right
side up.
Proshansky maintains that each individual, in support of ones
perception of place, builds up a cognitive pattern of place-identity that is
both internalized and personal on the level of cognitive transactions, and
common to others on the level of physical transactions. There are three
dimensions of place identity: cognitive-descriptive, affective-evaluative,
and role-related. The first two dimensions are most likely individual and
the third dimension is common and most likely to be understood by all
who are executing the same role18. For instance, referring back to the
entertainment/ fantasy environments, the actors (on some level) will
1.7 Bebner, John. Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
1.8 A discussion of Proshanskys place-identity theories can be found in John Bebners
book Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
17


understand the set in the same way, and the viewers (on some level) will
understand the scene in the same way. A "set" is an object without the
story. A scene is a created environment which taps cognitive responses
of the audience. Likewise, a building is an object without the people. The
interaction between the people with the building and the people with each
other creates the environment.
At this point a distinction must be made between an object and an
environment. An object can be man-made and can be observed. One
cannot fully participate in an object. Ittleson explains the difference
between an object and an environment with the following illustration: when
flying over a large city you observe that city from the window of the plane
as an object. In contrast, after the plane lands and one is walking through
downtown and interacting with the city, one gains a different perspective
and the city is no an longer object but an environment.19
Environments are extremely difficult, if not impossible to design.
The main reason the office environments described by Laing failed to
meet the psychological needs of the users is that their perceptions of their
environment and cognitive patterns were not taken into account as a
major design goal. According to Ittleson (1973) there are seven
characteristics present in any environment. The first is that one is
surrounded by his environment and will be prompted and able to explore
his environment in a participatory role. Secondly, environments are
always multi-modal. They can be experienced by all five senses. Thirdly,
peripheral as well as central information is always present. For example,
at a baseball game the central information (which is the same for all
participants) is the score of the game; though how each one feels about
the score may differ. Peripheral information would be a specific childhood
memory conjured up by the crunch of peanut shells or the bleachers
moving beneath ones feet, which is individual to each participant and
1.9 Ittleson, William H. Environment and Cognition. 1973
18


cannot be fully transferred to anyone else. Fourthly, environments
provide more information than can be processed, both redundant
information (which taps into the participants memory and sign/ symbol
association) as well as new. The last three characteristics of an
environment are exclusively used as environment perception and have
nothing to do whatsoever with object perception. An environment requires
the participant to act/ interact with it. An environment goes further than
requiring action by supplying conscious and subconscious messages to
the participant which may determine the direction and form the action will
take. The last of Ittlesons characteristics of environments is that an
environment has atmosphere/ ambiance. This last point is most clearly
demonstrated by looking at "fantasy environments". For instance, the
atmosphere at Disneyland is very different for the daily employee than for
the tourist. Moreover, the ambiance created by a movie is very different
for the movie viewer than the actor as the movie was being shot. David
Canter concludes his discussion of Ittlesons characteristics of
environments with the following:
Hopefully the day will come when it is clearly understood what are
the characteristic qualities for any given place, so that design may
revolve around modification of the levels of the qualities
provided.110
A participant in a given environment has many layers of
understanding of that environment, all of which he is not entirely
conscious. As a result, in attempting to design environments which meet
the psychological needs of its users, one must realize that there is no
design or solution that will completely solve the puzzle. However, it is
possible to isolate one aspect of an environment that is necessary for the
psychological comfort of the users and modify that aspect within the
environment. This thesis involved in depth research on the desired levels
of privacy and communication of the employees at Advanced Test and
1.10 Canter, David. The Psychology of Place. 1977
19


Analysis (ATA) Engineering.
Designing Offices for Engineers: Communication and Privacy
Figure 1.5 The ATA engineering building in San Diego, California
ATA Engineering is a small aerospace engineering consulting
company with approximately 30 employees. The work done at ATA
Engineering centers on the testing and analysis of aerospace structures
such as satellites, missile launch craft, etc. The work at ATA Engineering
also includes industrial design and software development. The type of
engineer that is generally attracted to this type of work leans heavily on
the science side of engineering. Aerospace engineers need an
environment where they can concentrate on complex technical problems
as well as one that encourages teamwork and collaborative problem
solving.
Engineering offices are generally designed for communication,
sacrificing privacy. Engineering offices generally assume that a cubicle
system is fine for the engineers and that they would even possibly like the
autonomy associated with a cubicle system. ATA-Engineering was
chosen for this study because the engineers all have private offices,
sacrificing communication for privacy. This thesis focuses on how
communication works within a private office system as well as ways to
20


improve communication without jeopardizing the privacy the employees
currently enjoy.
To find alternate methods of office design that would optimize the
privacy/ communication (interaction) balance, it was necessary to discover
what the subject finds desirable or undesirable in his/her current work
environment. First the ideal model of a work environment must be
established, then the subjects perceptions of their current environment
and how it differs from his/her preferred environment must be discerned.
The subjects must also be asked for direct responses with regards to
communication and privacy issues in their current work environment.
Interoffice communication is a vital issue in office design. Office
environments tend to be designed for supervision with the employee
benefit of communication and access to supervisors. Conventional
wisdom tells us that a private office environment decreases employee
communication and an open office environment increases communication.
However, the research done at ATA Engineering may call for a
reconsideration of conventional wisdom in designing offices for
communication.
The subjects all have private offices, and the relaxed, friendly
culture indicates a comparatively high level of employee communication.
The study of the employees at ATA Engineering focused on finding the
optimum balance between privacy and communication and how that
balance can be achieved and maintained.
Most subjects reported that ATA Engineering has good
communication. Although each employee has their own, private office,
there is an unwritten policy that employees keep their doors open. The
open door policy is viewed as such a vital part of communication that one
of the vice presidents makes a point of going to work early enough to
open office doors that the cleaning service may have closed the night
before. When comparing interoffice communication at ATA Engineering to
21


interoffice communication in various cubicle environments in which they
had worked in the past, subjects reported that there was more
communication in the form of interaction in the cubicle environment, but
more meaningful communication in the private office environment, mostly
on account of having control over the level of privacy needed and reduced
noise and other distractions.
The reception area is the major exception to ATA Engineerings
privacy oriented design. The function of the reception area is to greet
guests and serve as security for the office entrance. The reception area is
an example of a function that does not fit with the functions of the rest of
the office. For security reasons, it is isolated from the rest of the office.
The critical communication issues at ATA Engineering are less
about office type and more about other physical factors. Each person is
given a private office along the perimeter of the building (so that each
office has a window). The exception is the receptionist who is located in
the service core of the building to greet visitors from the elevator. The
seven members of the test team and lab are located on the ground floor
as they frequently need to load and unload heavy equipment onto trucks
for transport to and from test sites.
When asked about the effect of the private office system on
communication, most said that as long as the doors remained open,
communication was good. However, approximately half thought that
communication would decrease and relaxed culture would change if
individuals closed their office doors on a regular basis. They also
mentioned not seeing co-workers often because the offices are so far
apart. This observation is consistent with Baums dormitory study of1978
where the students living in dorms with long hallways had less interaction
and identity with the dorm than students living in dormitories with shorter
hallways.111 There is also an element of "us" and "them" due to the
1.11 Baums dormitory study, Baum, et. all 1978, is discussed in further detail in John
22


vertical separation between the test team and the rest of the office. The
receptionist feels isolated and dislikes being in the "quietest" part of the
building. These physical factors affecting communication within the office
are as much design issues as managerial issues.
In his book, Environment and Social Behavior. Irwin Altman
describes privacy as being constantly balanced with interaction.112 The
degree of privacy that is desired is constantly in a state of transition
depending on the degree of interaction that is desired. The relationship
between the two are constant, but the balance is constantly in transition
as the individual matures or simply goes through a variety of daily
routines. Individuals wish to have more privacy in certain situations than
others and desire to have different levels and amounts of communication
with different people at different times. The degree of voluntary access
given to ones life, thoughts, and personal space invariably changes with
the "intruding" subject.
In office design, social interaction issues can be replaced by the
term "communication issues". An important aspect in designing for
privacy and communication that can be derived from Altmans theory of
variable privacy is the adaptability of the environment. The individual
needs to have acceptable means to transform some aspects of their
immediate work environment to match the level of accessibility they desire
for any given work situation.
For instance, in a traditional office setting, one not only needs to
have the ability to close the door when necessary, but also to have a work
area that invites interaction. It is important that a co-worker not feel as if
they are intruding into ones work area when they enter the office to ask a
work-related question. The concept of "neutral ground" is an important
factor in designing traditional office environments that encourage
Bebners book Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
1.12 Altman, Irvin. Environment and Social Behavior. 1975
23


communication. Traditional office systems are comprised of a series of
clearly defined spaces with defined ownership of each space. To interact
with a co-worker, one needs to leave his/her space and enter anothers
space. At most, this requirement for interaction causes psychological
discomfort for some, and at the least a disruption in the work of both
employees. To encourage communication, neutral space must be
incorporated into the design of a traditional office system for the daily
transfer of information between co-workers.
Before attempting to design for an appropriate balance of privacy
and communication, one must look at how each is defined. The
definitions of communication given by the ATA Engineering subjects fall
into one of three categories: physical information, ideas and concepts,
and methods of technology used. The first two categories have sub-
categories of transmission, reception, and exchange. The subjects
perceptions of communication will be discussed in further detail in a later
portion of this document.
The dictionary defines privacy as "the state of being private;
retirement or seclusion. Secrecy". The first part of the definition speaks
of a passive privacy, as the word "private" is generally defined in terms of
property or as opposed to "public". The second part of the definition,
"retirement or seclusion" refers to a more active approach to seeking out
or creating privacy for oneself. The third part of the definition, "secrecy" is
about controlling access.
Robert Sommer acknowledges that the "relief from stress or
unpleasant personal contact is not the same as privacy".113 Each
individual has a conceptual boundary that defines his personal space that
he carries along with him, as well as built territory which he defends. In
many cases people view an invasion of their personal space as a violation
of their privacy. Sommer takes the discussion of privacy further by stating
1.13 Sommer, Robert. Personal Space The Behavioral Basis of Design. 1969
24


that for Americans, privacy is mostly understood as visual protection from
other people. For example, a bank customer will feel uncomfortable
discussing financial information in the center of a large lobby even though
the bank manager reassures him that their conversation is private and
cannot be overheard. This observation leads to a conclusion that visual
protection is directly linked to perceived auditory privacy and proximity of
others has less to do with perceived auditory privacy than visual
protection. Individuals who feel that they do not have adequate visual
privacy will often either create visual protection or define their territory as
being unmistakably theirs. For instance, one will often find a multitude of
posters taped to the glass windows set into doors or walls of a hallway, tall
plants in landscaped offices, and ultra-personalization in cubicle
environments.
A personal definition of privacy will differ slightly from one person to
another but will generally fall within the categories of active privacy,
passive privacy, or control of access. The research that was done with
ATA Engineering held true to the general categories of privacy. The
research found that auditory privacy was extremely important to most of
the subjects, followed by "having ones own space/ enough space"
(passive privacy). Other definitions of privacy that were all equally as
prevalent were visual privacy, control of access to either space or
intellectual property, and the right to personalize. Several of the
definitions of privacy also dealt with personal freedoms such as
personalization, the right to close a door when needed, and the freedom
to work independently.
Conclusion
25


One must be cautious when designing environments to meet
specific needs of their users. According to Laings study of office
environments throughout the past fifty years, each innovation has strayed
farther from addressing the privacy and personal identity needs of its
users.114 Needs such as privacy and personal identity fall into Vitruvious
category of "delight", which although as integral to successful design as
convenience and structural integrity, is by far the most difficult to define.115
Ittleson acknowledges that the difficulty in designing environments that
satisfy the psychological needs of their users stems from the many layers
of intangible information that are present in any successful
environment.1-16 An intangible design factor that is important to the
subjects at ATA Engineering is the correct balance of privacy and
communication. Sommer describes the concept of privacy as something
that is very real and critical to psychological comfort.1-17 Ones
perceptions of privacy are linked to physical factors in their environment
and can be designed into that environment. In order to design for the
appropriate level of privacy, ones perceptions of their current environment
and privacy must be understood.
The research with ATA Engineering begins this process with the
selection of a prototype to establish an ideal office environment. To
discern the subjects perceptions of their current environment, the
prototype selection is followed by a sketch problem. The subject is then
involved in a simulation where he/she constructs an ideal work
environment. Lastly, an interview and questionnaire are administered to
discover attitudes regarding personal privacy in the workplace as well as
the larger issue of privacy and authority in the workplace. A case study is
1.14 Andrew Laings essay, "New Patterns of Work, the Design of the Office" appears in
John Worthingtons book Reinventing the Workplace. 1997
1.15 A discussion of Vitruvius definition of good design is found in Peter Brandts book
Office Design. 1992
1.16 Ittleson, William H. Environment and Cognition. 1973
1.17 Sommer, Robert. Personal Space the Behavioral Basis of Design. 1969
26


developed based on the research. When an office environment is
designed in such a way that the users psychological needs and cognitive
patterns are taken into account as the major design issue, the result is an
environment whose effect will be very much like that of the "Happiest
Place on Earth".
27


Section 2: Research Methods
Prototype Selection
Sketch Problem
Simulation
Interview
Questionnaire
Design
Conclusion


The primary objective of the on-site research at ATA Engineering
was to gather information from the users of the office space regarding
what they liked or didnt like about their office space. This included how
well their built environment encourages or discourages the desired
balance of interaction and privacy as well as their individual feelings
about privacy and communication issues. The data was then applied to
an exploration of alternative office lay outs. Retrieving the data was
accomplished using methods that would give information about what one
likes, how one perceives their current environment, how one would
change their current environment, how one feels about specific privacy
related issues, and ones overall perception of authority.
ATA Engineering was chosen for two reasons. The first involves
their existing office environment. Each engineer has his/her own private,
traditional office. However, not all work is done in their offices, but also at
customer sites and in labs. Many casual business meetings between two
or three co-workers are held in the corridors. The study of this office
environment will look at the communication patterns in the existing office
environment and will explore ways in which these "casual meetings" can
be better accommodated or encouraged by the physical setting.
Another reason for studying this firm is that it is in a state of
transition. The local firm was recently formed as a spin-off from their
previous corporate headquarters. This stage was important to my
research because the company (and its employees) were in a state of
transition and the employees were more likely to be open to the possibility
of change and alternate ways of working.
The research was not limited to engineers, but was applied to a
cross-section of the office. The majority of the research subjects were
engineers, but members of the business/ accounting group and the
receptionist also participated.
28


Eighteen subjects participated in the on-site research. Forty
minute data collection sessions were administered between the hours of
8:30 am and 3:30 pm over a period of three days. The sessions consisted
of a prototype selection, a sketch problem, a simulation, and an interview.
The questionnaire was explained at the end of the meeting, and the
subjects were instructed to complete it on their own time and return their
results by e-mail.
Prototype Selection
The first stage of the research was the prototype selection. The
subject was shown photographs of four prototypes: an open office,
cubicles, a traditional office, and a home office. The subject was asked to
pick the photo that most closely corresponded to their ideal work
environment. Photographs were used instead of drawings because it was
important that the subjects perceive the work environment that they chose
as an actual environment rather than an image of someone elses
perception of an environment. The subjects were given photographs of a
variety of office types and asked to select the office type which most
closely resembled their ideal office. The photographs were either selected
from a book on office design or original photographs taken of mid-level
engineering offices within a large corporation. The photographs in the
design book were uninhabited, while the original photographs had clear
signs of habitation. The photographs were printed in black and white and
mounted on black cardboard. The photographs used can be found in
Appendix A.
The receptionist was unable to find a prototype that would
accommodate her interaction and privacy needs as well as her work
responsibilities. Instead of selecting a prototype from the photographs,
29


she built a unique prototypical model from Legos. This model
communicated her interaction and privacy needs without interfering with
the image and level of accessibility her job requires.
Figure 2.1 The Receptionists Lego model
Sketch Problem
Kevin Lynch, an environmental design theorist with an emphasis on
urban planning, uses "mapping" in his research on how subjects perceive
and understand urban environments. Mapping is a process by which the
subject describes his/her environment by producing a sketch that includes
circulation and landmarks. In his book, The Image of the City. Lynch
discusses the way in which humans form and store images.
The creation of the environmental image is a two-way process
between observer and observed. What he sees is based on
exterior form, but how he interprets and organizes this, and how he
directs his attention, in its turn affects what he sees. The human
organism is highly adaptable and flexible, and different
groups may have widely different images of the same outer
reality.21
The understanding that the mental images humans form are
2.1 Lynch, Kevin. Image of the City. 1960
30


derived not only from an outer reality but also individualized complex inner
patterns leads to the challenge of discerning what images individuals have
of their built environment. For the purpose of this research, a sketch
problem was used. The subjects were asked to take 5 to 10 minutes to
sketch their "work area". While the sketch was being completed, digital
photographs were taken on the subjects office for comparison. The
objective of the sketch was to indicate which elements of the space have
an important impact (positive or negative) on the subject, and how the
subject interprets their built environment.
A common challenge that is encountered in environment research
is finding methods for subjects to communicate their perceptions of either
their current environment or their ideal environment. In the previous
phase of research, a sketch problem was used. Engineers are familiar
with communicating ideas through a sketch format and therefore the
method was appropriate to the application. Engineers are also familiar
with communicating ideas through the use of models. In the following
stage of the research, a prototypical model built from Legos was used as
a method of communicating the subjects ideal work environment.
Simulation
The subjects were given an office built with Legos that
corresponded to the prototype they chose from the photographs in the first
phase of the research. The office model was of a corner office with two
windows. Each window was centered at 1/3 the distance to the opposite
wall. Each office had opaque walls to the inside and a swinging door.
The subjects were then given a bag of Legos with individual Lego pieces
as well as pre- assembled pieces such as windows, screens, doors, filing
cabinet shapes, desk pieces and any piece of furniture that had been
assembled by other subjects. A catalog of these Lego pieces can be
31


found in Appendix B. The subjects were given instructions to use the
Legos in the bag to alter the model of the office and make it their ideal
office. The only restrictions given were that they could not make the office
larger.
Interview
In addition to the previous research instruments, the subjects were
interviewed. The purpose of the interview was to have a more specific
and descriptive record of how the subject feels about their work
environment and other related issues. The duration of the interview was
approximately thirty minutes. The subjects were asked both prompted
questions and open-ended questions. The questions focused on the way
the subject felt about privacy and communication issues in the context of
the workplace and were largely based on the prototype that was selected
in the first phase of the on-site research.
The questions asked in the study of the open office focused on
social issues: the subjects definition of privacy, personalization, sense of
groups, and definition of territory. The questions asked about the cubicles
focused on technology and social issues: the subjects definition of
privacy, level of supervision necessary, feelings about authority, views on
technology, and a sense of groups. The questions about the traditional
office also focused on social issues and technology: the subjects
definition of communication, the hierarchy of privacy and communication,
the amount of supervision necessary, their views on technology, and
social interaction with co-workers. The questions about the home office
focused on social issues: the appropriate balance of privacy and
communication between home, home office, and work, the subjects views
on technology, social interaction with co-workers, and the hierarchy of
32


privacy and communication. The actual questions that were asked are
listed in Appendix C.
Questionnaire
The final phase of the on-site research was the questionnaire.
The objective of the questionnaire was to quantitatively measure the
subjects feelings about authority and compare that score to their ideas
about privacy in the work place.
Two questionnaires were attempted. The first questionnaire
submitted had to be retracted. The questionnaire included questions
regarding ones feelings about ultimate authority (God) and posed
potential problems for the company due to California employment law and
employee privacy rights.
The second questionnaire was concerned more with how ones
attitudes about authority come into play in various workplace situations.
This questionnaire also had to be edited (to eliminate specific references
to God) and formatted in such a way that it was self scoring and could be
administered without the researcher knowing the way in which specific
questions were answered.
The questionnaire was developed by Joseph Juhasz and George
Griffin and is described in greater detail in the publications "Predictiveness
of Orientation Toward God at the Workplace", Psychological Press 1996
(Juhasz, Griffin) and "Belief Systems and Attitudes Toward the
Workplace", Psychological Press 1998 (Harvey, Juhasz, Griffin, Gore).22
The questionnaire can be found in Appendix D. It identifies four attitudes
2.2 The questionnaire is described in greater detail in the following papers:
a. "Predictiveness of Orientation Toward God in the Workplace". Juhasz, Griffin.
Psychological Press. 1996
b. "Belief Systems and Attitudes Toward the Workplace". Harvey, Juhasz, Griffin,
Gore. Psychological Press. 1998
33


about authority that can be connected to personality type. The first type is
the Extrapersonalist. This type has an acute knowledge of absolute right
and absolute wrong and makes their decisions and forms attitudes based
on that knowledge. The second type is the Cynic. This type is inherently
suspicious of the Absolute and makes their decisions and forms attitudes
based on that knowledge. The third type is the Egoist. This type does not
make decisions or form attitudes based on their knowledge (favorable/
unfavorable) of the Absolute, but instead, is governed by their
relationships with other people. The fourth type is the Contextualist. This
type forms attitudes and makes decisions based on the context of the
situation.
Design
The purpose of the on-site research was to establish specific
design objectives based on the data collected. The president of ATA
Engineering was asked additional questions regarding access and
enclosure issues. Three schematic office plans were developed and
submitted to the president for comments. All three plans included spaces
dedicated to functions their current facility houses. The plans also all held
to the primary elements that were found to be integral to ATA
Engineerings privacy/ communication issues. The difference in the plans
were primarily the flexibility of "unclaimed" space, circulation patterns, and
use of outdoor spaces. Further discussion on the three proposed floor
plans can be found in Section 5: Case Study.
34


Figure 2.3 Scheme B Proposal as submitted to the client.
35


!
!
i
Figure 2.4 Scheme C Proposal as submitted to the client.
Conclusion
The privacy and communication needs of individual employees
should be taken into consideration in office design. This can be done by
using methods that are appropriate to the users that communicate what
the users want in general, what they like or dislike about what they
currently have, how they would like to change what they currently have,
how they feel about privacy and communication issues within their current
work environment, and their perceptions of authority. Once the needs and
wants of the users are clearly communicated, the data can be used to
develop design objectives in a user-oriented office design.
The logical way to analyze this data is to use comparative methods
in the investigation of connections between ones perception of their work
environment, their actual work environment, and their ideal work
environment. First the subjects should be categorized based on the
prototype of their ideal built environment. To discern the subjects
perception of their current environment, the sketch problem should be
36


compared with photographs of their actual office environment and note
taken regarding which items are included in the sketch and which items
are not included in the sketch. The simulation should be compared to the
sketch as an expression of which items in their current environment the
subject would like to remain and which the subject would like to change.
Common themes that appear in the interviews should be noted and
compared with the previous data. The attitude type derived from the
questionnaire should be compared to all previous data in an investigation
of connections between attitudes toward authority and privacy in the
workplace.
37


Section 3: Data Analysis Prototype Selection Private Office, Single Home Office Private Office, Shared Open Office Cubicle Sketch Problem Lego Simulation Interview Privacy and Technology Communication/ Interaction Issues Questionnaire Conclusion


The data that was collected for this research was analyzed using
comparative methods to investigate connections between the subjects
perception of privacy and their actual work environment and the subjects
desired level of privacy and ideal work environment. This is done in an
attempt to bridge the gap between the real and the ideal. The following
methods were used in the research. Photographs were used to establish
a prototype. The sketch problem established the elements that were
important to the client. The simulation communicated what the client
wanted. The interview was used to discuss large privacy and
communication issues. Finally, the questionnaire was used as a method
of discerning attitudes toward authority.
Prototype Selection
In the first stage of the research, photographs were used to
establish the subjects ideal office environment. Photographs were used
instead of drawings because it was important that the subjects perceive
the work environment that they chose as an actual environment rather
than an image of someone elses perception of an environment. The
subjects were given photographs of a variety of office types and asked to
select the office type which most closely resembled their ideal office.
38


Office Type
Private Office
Shared Office
Open Office
Home Office
Cubicle
Figure 3.1 The preference of eighteen subjects regarding office type
Of the eighteen subjects, sixteen chose the single office, one chose
the home office, and one chose the shared office. No one chose the
cubicle office or the open office. The subjects were then asked why they
chose that office type for the prototype of their ideal office.
Private Office, Single
Figure 3.2 Example of a single private office.
39


Every single subject who chose the single office chose the
uninhabited single office. The main reason given for choosing the single
office was that it was the most similar to what they already had and they
were happy with what they had. Privacy and personal identity issues were
secondary. The subjects said that they liked having auditory privacy by
simply closing the door. There was no need to move from ones office to
another part of the building to have a private conversation either in person
or over the phone.
There was also a connection between status and privacy. The
subjects with more seniority in the company felt that moving to an office
with less privacy would be a "step down" and the younger subjects often
equated the single office with both respect and professional trust.
Home Office
The subject chose the home office for the efficiency and
convenience. The home office may be a good alternative to the traditional
office. It eliminates commute time, there are generally fewer distractions
during the day, reduces facility costs for the company and is less taxing on
the environment. However, since only 5% of the employees of ATA
Engineering participating in the research would ideally work at home, it is
obviously not a good solution for everyone in this particular company. The
Figure 3.3. Example of a home office.
40


one subject in the company who works primarily out of his home did not
choose the home office for reasons which included interaction between
co-workers and communication issues.
Private Office, Shared
Figure 3.4 Example of a shared private office.
One subject chose the shared office. The office in the photograph
was a ground-level office shared by two people with approximately seven
feet between desks. The reason the subject gave for choosing the shared
office was the advantage of more communication as well as the benefit of
more relaxed communication.
Open Office
No subjects from the research at ATA Engineering chose the open
office. This sample of engineers values both their visual privacy and
auditory privacy. These engineers would likely find the amount of noise
that is transmitted in an open environment a distraction.
Cubicle
An important result of this investigation is the rejection of the
cubicle by this particular group of subjects. Engineering offices are
generally equated with cubicles. Many engineers relate to Dilbert (the
cubicle-dwelling cartoon engineer). Among the photographs there were
41


two examples of each of the preceding prototypes, and six examples of
modern cubicles. The deck was heavily stacked in favor of the cubicles.
However, not one engineer from the sample of subjects at ATA
Engineering chose a cubicle as their ideal work environment. In fact, most
of the comments and facial expressions given by the subjects when
looking through the cubicle photographs were of extreme disdain.
Sketch Problem
After establishing the prototype of the subjects ideal environment,
the research progressed to the second phase of the on-site research
which was the sketch problem. The purpose of the sketch problem was to
have a clearer record of how the subjects perceive their current work
environment. This method was chosen for working with engineers
because they often use graphic skills in their work and can generally
communicate ideas well in sketch form. One theory that emerged from
this stage of the research is that what a subject draws is not neutral; that
whatever they draw is either very pleasing or necessary or bothersome.
' r..../
..T)
I
I \
....1....
n:

TAStf 1 1
' , i

i
__k&ud
5^5 *5
irzu f
..-.4
Figure 3.5 Figure 3.6
Sketch with no walls drawn Sketch with walls drawn
42


Each office at ATA Engineering is initially almost identical. It is a
10 by 10 or 10 by 12 room with a window and a door (the corner offices
have two windows). Each office is equipped with two computers, two
desks, a work chair, one or two guest chairs, a filing cabinet, two book
shelves, and a whiteboard. There are few restrictions on personalization
and many of the employees display photographs, honors, trophies,
artwork, plants, and various other things to make their office uniquely
theirs.
One of the expected themes in the drawings was the computers.
Ninety percent of the subjects drew their computer and twenty five percent
drew both computers. One subject drew nothing but his desk and his
computer. The ten percent who did not draw their computers tend to be
more relational, tested as having a low need for visual privacy, and have a
tendency toward the conceptual rather than the pragmatic. Storage was
also an important theme in the drawings. The same number of subjects
drew storage as drew their computers.
Other important themes in the drawings were walls, windows, and
doors. These three components are important because they have to do
with permanence as well as enclosure. Seventy five percent of the
subjects drew walls. Of those who didnt draw walls, all but one scored as
needing a low level of visual privacy and the other scored as needing a
high level of visual privacy. Fifty percent drew windows and ninety
percent drew doors. An interesting point to be made is that there were
subjects who drew doors, but did not draw walls or windows.
Lesser themes include moveable objects within the office. Fifty
percent drew whiteboards, Fifty percent drew their second table, and ten
percent drew or noted personalization. While these last categories may
be neutral to most employees in the office, they are important to some.
43


Stbject Lal of Rivacy Desiree Corrputer Qjest Chars Storage wais Wrcbws Door Extra Table WiteBoand Ftersonalizatior
1 Htf X X X X X X
2 Hcfi visual X X X
A IVbderae XX X
5 MxJefcte XX X X X X X
bow X X X X
7 Law X X X X X X X
E Vbderae X X X X X X
S Law X X X X X
1C Law X X X X X
12 Hch XX X X X X X
12 Mxlerae X X X X X
14 Hcb X X X X X X X
15 fvbderae X X X X X X
17 MxterSe X X X X X X X X
1E Lxw X X X X X X X
1E Mxterae XX X X X X X
21 Law X X X
22 Mxlerde XX X X X
Figure 3.7 The items drawn in the sketch problem were compared to the
degree of privacy the subjects desired
Lego Simulation
The third phase of the on-site research was the simulation. The
purpose of the simulation was to have a record of the subjects ideal built
environment. The theory behind the simulation was that since engineers
often work with models, the subjects would be able to describe their ideal
work environment more accurately using a built model than a verbal
description.
The subjects were given an office built with Legos that
corresponded to the prototype they chose from the photographs in the first
phase of the research. The office model was of a corner office with two
windows. Each window was centered at 1/3 the distance to the opposite
wall. Every office had opaque walls to the inside and a swinging door.
The subjects were then given a bag of Legos with individual lego pieces
as well as pre- assembled pieces such as windows, screens, doors, filing
cabinet shapes, desk pieces and any piece of furniture that had been
assembled by other subjects. The subjects were given instructions to use
44


the Legos in the bag to alter the model of the office and make it their ideal
office. The only restrictions given were that they could not make the office
larger.
Figure 3.9 This Lego model demonstrates an open plan.
45


One of the main objectives in analyzing the Lego simulation was to
compare what the subject had built in the simulation of their ideal
environment to what they had drawn in their existing environment. Half of
the subjects built storage in the simulation and every subject who built
storage had also drawn storage in the sketch problem. Half of the
subjects who added windows also drew windows, and the one subject
who removed the windows from the simulation model did not draw
windows.
Total Built Windows Built Walls Built Storage
Total 7 2 10
Drew Windows 1 4
Drew Chairs 2 2
Drew Storage 7 9
Figure 3.11 The items sketched in the sketch problem were compared with the items
built in the Lego simulation.
Another objective that was accomplished with the Lego simulation
was simply to have a record of how each subject would change their
current work environment. One response was to either not change the
office model or to reconfigure it to match their current office. Other
responses were to move windows, reduce desk size, add desks, place
obstacles in front of the door, add guest chairs, and the subjects who
chose the open office and shared office both added visual screens.
Two different approaches to altering the simulation model were to
either build what they already had, or re-build the entire model with the
exception of slightly moving a window. When the subjects who re-built
their current office were asked about this decision, a common response
was that they simply liked what they had and saw no reason to change it.
The subjects who moved windows were possibly acting out a desire to
become involved in the process of creating their own environment, even
46


though the basic model was suitable for their needs. By slightly altering
the prototype, they made their ideal work environment an expression of
themselves.
The use of office furniture is another important element in the
simulation. The subjects who reduced the size of their desks tended to
need low levels of visual privacy and be more conceptual thinkers. The
subjects who added desks scored as needing moderate to low visual
privacy. The subjects who placed obstacles in front of the door in such a
way that made passage impossible need moderate to high levels of visual
privacy. The subjects who added guest chairs were female.
Interview
In addition to the previous research instruments, the subjects were
interviewed in order to have a more specific and descriptive record of how
the subject feels about their work environment and other issues. The
duration of the interview was approximately thirty minutes. The subjects
were asked both prompted questions and open-ended questions. The
questions focused on the way the subject felt about privacy and
communication issues in the context of the workplace.
In order to get accurate definitions of privacy and communication
from a subject, it is necessary to use reference points that the subject can
relate to in the questioning. To discern whether auditory privacy or visual
privacy was more important to the subjects, they were asked if given a
choice, would they rather work in a cubicle made of opaque partitions or a
cubicle made of sound proof glass. The question was expressed by many
of the subjects as choosing the lesser of two evils. The question had an
interesting result. In spite of the fact that engineers are generally
assigned to cubicles with standard, opaque partitions, two thirds of the
47


subjects chose the sound proof glass.
Cubicles Composed of:
Sound Proof Glass 12
Opaque Partitions 6
Figure 3.12 The number of subjects choosing sound proof glass vs. opaque partitions
In addition to the question of auditory privacy versus visual privacy,
the subjects were asked to give a definition of privacy. The most common
definitions were concerned with auditory privacy (both not being
overheard and not hearing), followed by the proximity of others. Fewer
definitions were concerned with visual privacy and the control of access
(to both physical and intellectual territory).
The subjects were also categorized based on the level of privacy
they desired. The categories, high, medium, and low were comparative
and the individuals would probably be categorized differently in another
office environment. The categories were assigned based on answers to
questions regarding the level of supervision required as well as thoughts
about current levels of privacy and communication in the office.
Privacy and Technology
Since the research is primarily concerned with privacy and
communication issues in the workplace, subjects were asked questions
about these issues as they relate to technology in the workplace.
Technology is an arena with its own privacy concerns. ATA Engineering
uses Microsoft Windows NT on many of their computers. The
workstations are connected to a server and can be accessed by the
"administrator" at any time. The benefit of this system is that the
individual administering the server can update the computers or fix
48


problems from the "administrator" computer. The administrator also has
access to e-mail and any personal files that might be on the work
computers. The subjects were asked what their feelings were regarding
the use of such systems. The majority of the subjects were not bothered
by the use of the system at work but would be very disturbed if a similar
system was used by local government and could monitor their home
computer.
One distinction that was made in the previous line of questioning
was the difference between work and home. When one accepts a job
they assume that they are giving up a degree of privacy in exchange for
interesting work and a paycheck. The computers and the work done on
them are the property of the company and personal privacy issues are not
a part of the equation. However, at home an individual has privacy rights
when using a computer that they bought and maintain which they are not
willing to relinquish.
Another factor was the familiarity of the administrator. Many of the
subjects said that one of the reasons they werent concerned about the
use of the NT system at their company was that they knew the
administrators and trusted that they would not abuse their authority. A few
subjects said that they would be more concerned about privacy issues
and technology if they worked in a larger company and did not know the
administrator.
Communication/ Interaction Issues
Nearly all of the employees at ATA Engineering feel that they
currently have an acceptable level of privacy. ATA has a policy that the
employees are expected to keep their doors open whenever possible, but
have the right to close them when a work situation calls for either more
privacy or deeper concentration. The main disadvantage of a private
office system is that it can hinder communication. The subjects were
49


asked how hesitant they would be to knock on a closed door to ask a
casual work related question. Approximately half said that they would not
hesitate at all, and the other half would hesitate slightly. Most of the
subjects admitted that if the policy of keeping their doors open was not
strongly encouraged, that communication within the company would
decrease slightly and the relaxed culture they currently enjoy would likely
change.
The offices at ATA Engineering are primarily located along the
perimeter of the building and the services are located in the core.
According to Baums study of dormitories (1978), subjects living in
dormitories with longer hallways have less social interaction than subjects
living in dormitories with shorter hallways.31 The subjects at ATA were
asked how they thought having offices on both sides of the corridor (thus
decreasing the distance to the furthest inhabited office by approximately
half) would affect the culture and communication within the company. The
subjects said that it would either have no effect or improve interaction.
The subject in favor of the shared office felt that the communication would
definitely improve.
Another communication issue that is dependent on physical
building factors is the communication between the office on the second
floor and the test group on the first floor. When the subjects were asked
about the communication issues, they would most often cite upstairs
versus downstairs communication issues. The more recent employees in
the test group (downstairs) feel socially isolated from the rest of the office.
3.1 Baums dormitory study, Baum et. all, 1978 is described in greater detail in John
Bebners book Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
50


The subjects were also asked to give a definition of communication.
Forty-five percent gave a definition involving the transfer or receipt of
information. Forty percent gave a definition involving the transfer or
receipt of ideas and thoughts. Fifteen percent defined communication
using examples of the technology used. Both of the subjects who chose
the home office prototype defined communication by the methods of
51


communication used.
Questionnaire
The final phase of the research was the questionnaire. The
questionnaire was developed by Joseph Juhasz and George Griffin.32
The objective of the questionnaire was to quantitatively measure the
subjects feelings about authority and compare that score to their ideas
about privacy in the work place.
The subjects from ATA Engineering all scored as type 4s
(Contextualists). The majority of the subjects profiles were Contextualist,
followed by Egoist, and the Cynic and Extrapersonalist scores as either
third or fourth. One of the interesting finds in the questionnaire is that the
subjects with the highest score in each category all had conceptual
definitions of communication.
Definitions of Communication Extrapersonalist Cynic Egoist Contextualist
Conceptual 2 2 2
Pragmatic 1
Technology Used 1
Figure 3.15 Questionnaire scores vs. Definition of Communication
The engineers who scored highest in the Extrapersonalist category
sit with their backs to the door leaving the screen of their main computer
clearly visible from the hallway. The engineers scoring highest in the
Cynic category built similar Lego models. They both positioned the desk
in such a way that it faces the wall, and added a desk behind them,
blocking access to the door.
3.2 The questionnaire is described in greater detail in the following papers:
a. "Predictiveness of Orientation Toward God at the Workplace", Juhasz and Griffin,
Psychological Press 1996.
b. "Belief Systems and Attitudes Toward the Workplace", Harvey, Juhasz, Griffin,
Gore. Psychological Press 1998T
52


Figure 3.16 The Lego models of the subjects who scored the highest in the Cynic
category. Note the configuration and position of the desks as well as the blockage of the
door.
The subjects who scored highest in the Egoist category oriented
themselves toward the door in their current offices. The engineers scoring
highest in the Contextualist category rate visual privacy over auditory
privacy and orient themselves toward a window in their current offices.
Conclusion
In the exploration of office environments undertaken by this thesis,
a variety of methods were used to bridge the gap between the existing
and the desired. Although architecture alone doesnt determine an ideal
work environment, various trends emerged among this particular sample
of subjects that can be used in design applications for their facility. The
data collected reflected the privacy and communication issues at the ATA
Engineering office as well as other attitudes about the both subjects
immediate environment and larger work environment.
53


Section 4: Discussion of Implications


The objective of the data collection was to discover the ways in
which their physical environment affected the employees at ATA
engineering. A variety of methods were used to record their perceptions
of their environment as well as feelings regarding privacy and
communication. The resulting data further defined the concepts of privacy
and communication as the subjects understood them. It also
communicated the aspects of their current environment that were
important to the subjects.
Auditory privacy was extremely important to engineers. In order to
discover whether auditory privacy or visual privacy was more important to
the subjects, they were asked if they would rather work in a standard
cubicle with opaque partitions or cubicles made of sound-proof glass, the
subjects overwhelmingly chose sound-proof glass. Since no windows
were substituted for corridor walls in the simulation, visual privacy was
also important to the subjects and they would not actually substitute their
opaque walls for a glass enclosure. Instead, the results imply that the
subjects would rather have control over hearing and being heard than
seeing and being seen.
The office arrangement at ATA Engineering sacrifices
communication for privacy. The employees compensate for this design
decision by using other methods of communication and altering their
physical environment for more efficient communication by keeping their
doors open whenever possible. This system seems to be working well for
ATA Engineering but may not work as well for other companies.
Although most subjects preferred to work in a single private office,
there was a broad spectrum of required privacy and desired interaction
and supervision. In order for an individual to have an optimum balance of
privacy and communication, they must have a degree of control over the
levels of privacy in their immediate environment. In their current offices,
the employees of ATA Engineering open or close their doors depending
54


on the amount of privacy warranted by the situation.
Through the research at ATA Engineering, windows emerged as an
important issue in office design. The results of the sketch problem
indicated that there was no connection between a desired level of privacy
and exterior windows. Although the view from most offices is not
spectacular, windows are prized for the prestige, natural light and
ventilation.
Level of Privacy Needed m9h Medium Low
Drew Windows (sketch) 3 5 2
Added Windows (sim) 2 3 2
Figure 4.1 Level of privacy desired compared with windows drawn
Prestige has a definite connection to privacy in engineering office
design. When an employee is moved from a cubicle to a private office, it
is often perceived as a step up within the company rather than a change
in degree of enclosure. Younger employees at ATA Engineering
appreciate having private offices, not only for the privacy but also for the
prestige.
Communication within engineering offices is generally adversely
affected by assigning employees to different floors. At the time of the
investigation, the test group was located on a separate floor from the rest
of the office. When asked about the social connections in the office, the
response from the newer employees in the test group indicated a much
lower connection with the rest of the office than the newer employees on
the upper floor. This finding is consistent with previous research where
interaction among high-rise residents found that less interaction occurred
among residents on separate floors (Zalot, Adams, Webber 1977).41 In
an office environment, two major factors contribute to the lack of social
4.1 The high-rise study by Zalot, Adams, and Webber (1977) is described in greater
detail in John Bebners book Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
55


connection between co-workers. The first is the visual separation
between floors. The second is when both floors are self-sufficient and
there is no reason to interact with co-workers on another floor.
Both Frank Lloyd Wrights Larkin Building42 and Hertzbergers
Central Beher office building43 attempted to provide a visual connection
between floors. In both cases this was accomplished by using partial
height walls with office spaces looking into a central multi-story day-lit
space. These office plans work well to provide vertical visual connections
but permit the transmission of office noise between floors. Since auditory
privacy is of ultimate importance to this sample of engineers, partial wall
heights providing visual connections between floors would not work for
this particular office situation. They could, however, contribute to
mitigating the problem of communication between floors in other office
environments.
Interaction within an office environment is also affected by the
travel distance between offices. Employees working on separate floors or
on opposite sides of the building are less likely to interact than the
employees with offices near each other. This is not so much a social
issue as a basic communication issue within the office. The offices at ATA
Engineering are along the perimeter of the building, creating potentially
long travel distances between offices. One employee mentioned that she
could go a whole week without seeing a specific co-worker, simply
because they could perform their work responsibilities without their paths
crossing.
Within any given engineering office, there are engineers and non-
engineers. The non-engineers that were researched worked in reception
and accounting. There were many differences between the engineers
and the non-engineers. An important difference that relates to office
4.2 Quinan, Jack. Frank Llovd Wrights Larkin Building Myth and Fact. 1987
4.3 van Bergeijk, Herman. Herman Hertzberaer. 1997
56


design is that although all subjects scored as "contextualists" on the
Workplace Situation Instrument, the non-engineers scored as responding
to relationships or ultimate authority more than the engineers. The non-
engineers were also more likely to draw "guest chairs" in the sketch
problem and expressed a need for greater interaction.
The reception area at ATA Engineering is fairly formal. It is
equipped with modern furniture, plants, and examples of company work
on the walls. The receptionist has a tall, modern desk which faces the
elevators. There is a full-height glass wall behind the receptionist desk
looking into the conference room. The reception area at ATA
Engineering, like most other reception areas, is a "waiting room". There is
no other architecturally implied function than for the visitor to tell the
receptionist with whom they have an appointment and then to wait in a
comfortable chair and read a magazine while they wait for the person they
are meeting.
Figure 4.2 The current reception area at ATA Engineering
The reception area at ATA Engineering works perfectly well from a
functional standpoint. However, it does not meet the interaction needs of
the receptionist. Most receptionists are extraverts and need high levels of
interaction with co-workers. The reception area is designed to give the
reception area a professional look as well as separate the public reception
space from the private office space. As a result, receptionists tend to
57


have the lowest level of interaction with co-workers in the company. In
her interview, the receptionist said that she felt isolated and that it was
also difficult for her to know who was in the office that day and who was at
customer sites. She also mentioned that she would like to alter her
physical environment for more visual interaction.
The receptionist used the Lego simulation to model her ideal work
space. There were several important differences between the simulation
model and her current work space. She surrounded her work area on
three sides with either full-height glass walls or glass walls that were
partially screened. She also built an L-shaped desk and positioned it is
such a way that she could see the glass walls from different points at her
desk. There is a side of her desk that faces the elevator (to greet
customers and sign for packages) and a side of her desk that faces a
glass wall with the elevator in her peripheral vision. The L-shaped desk
gives her more control over how she positions herself within her
environment and also gives her the option of not looking at the elevator.
The receptionists choice to not always face the elevator head-on may be
an expression of the desire to alter her position in her environment for a
slightly greater degree of privacy and control over her environment than
she now has.
Conclusion
The purpose of the research done at ATA Engineering was to
discover how the employees feel about their current work environment
(especially regarding issues related to privacy and communication), and
interpret those likes and dislikes into built form to design an ideal work
environment. Determining a subjects likes and dislikes can be difficult.
Several methods were used in order to attempt a design that is both
58


functional and elicits a favorable emotional response. Photographs were
used to establish a prototype. A sketch problem recorded as subjects
likes and dislikes regarding their current environment. The simulation
communicated an ideal work environment. The interview gave input on a
subjects feelings regarding larger communication and privacy issues
within the office environment. The questionnaire revealed attitudes
toward authority. These methods used to bridge the gap between the
existing and the ideal can be applied to successful office design.
An issue that proved to be extremely important through the
research at ATA Engineering is the degree of control one has over his
environment. Many of the subjects enjoy having the ability to
communicate their level of desired interaction by opening or closing their
door. Along the same lines, in the Lego simulation the receptionist built
her desk in such a way that she had a choice in which direction she faced.
From the data collected, design schemes that give the individual an
acceptable amount of control over the levels of privacy and interaction
were developed. An individual who has a sufficient amount of control over
certain factors in their environment will likely identify more with his
environment and have a higher level of satisfaction with his built work
environment.
59


Section 5: Case Study
Office Design for ATA Engineering
Conclusion


The primary objective of the research done at ATA Engineering
was to use the input of the client (the users of the space) to design a work
environment where optimum levels of privacy and communication are
possible. The research used a variety of methods to bridge the gap
between the real, the ideal, and the functional in office design.
The research found that the engineers at ATA Engineering like
private offices with doors that close, windows that open, and plenty of
storage. From the data collected we can conclude that these particular
engineers dont like cubicles and dont like noise. This finding begs the
question, if this sample of engineers unanimously dislike working in a
cubicle, why are most engineering offices designed with cubicles? The
most probable answer to that question is cost, flexibility, and building
efficiency.
The construction cost of building an office space with built partitions
for private offices is more than that of "snapping together" cubicles.
However, this lifetime cost must be compared to the lifetime cost of
employee turnover and the risk associated with not hiring the highest
performing employees. The overwhelming preference for private offices
suggests that all other company factors being equal, an engineer would
be more likely to choose to work for a company that demonstrated their
respect for the employee by furnishing them with a private office. As a
result, assuming that the work was interesting and the pay is comparable,
the company with the private office system is more likely able to hire
higher performing employees than the companies who assign employees
to cubicles.
Cubicles are not the only flexible partitioning system on the market.
In response to the need for auditory privacy and the flexibility required for
hotel conference rooms and hospital classrooms, several companies have
developed full-height movable partitions. These partitions give both the
appearance and acoustical protection of built-in walls but can be installed
60


or removed and stored for later use as the needs of the company change.
The partitions also come in a variety of configurations so that the
individual can choose the degree of visual privacy they would like. This
also gives the user more control over their physical environment.
Figure 5.1 An Example of a Flexible panel system
61


A ninety foot deep building with offices along the perimeter and
cubicles in the center is the most efficient use of the building envelope.
However, this building configuration is the most taxing on electrical and
mechanical energy. The winter of 2001 brought a steep increase in fuel
prices and California experienced a severe energy shortage. At the
consumer level, homeowners spent large amounts of money retrofitting
their homes to make them more energy efficient, something that should
have been done when the house was first built. The commercial sector
will likely follow and begin to build with energy economy in mind. A
building with a depth of thirty to forty feet allows for offices with windows
on both sides of a corridor. An operable window in every office is an
extremely important factor in an energy efficient building in California.
Daylighting can be maximized and used to supplement the artificial
lighting. A tolerable temperature can be maintained by intermittent use of
mechanical cooling and natural ventilation. Efficient use of daylighting
and a temperate environment will eventually offset the cost of the building
envelope.
A Design for ATA Engineering
ATA Engineering is a small aerospace engineering firm in San
Diego. ATA Engineering primarily does consulting work for larger
aerospace companies in structural design issues for aerospace
constructions. Their main divisions are Aerospace, Industrial, Test, and
Software groups. They also have a group of engineers with other
expertise as well as support staff (business/ accounting, computer
support, and reception). ATA Engineering is an employee owned
company and wishes to communicate value and respect for all of its
employees. At the time of the investigation each employee had a private
62


office with a window. The employees are satisfied with their level of
privacy at work. The primary emphasis of design for ATA Engineering is
to increase communication and interaction while still maintaining an
acceptable level of privacy for the users.
Three "schemes" for the lay-out of a new ATA Engineering facility
were proposed. Scheme "A" was selected as the preferred plan and is
shown in Figure 2.2. Scheme "A" was primarily selected for the use of
outdoor spaces, defined interior spaces with exterior views, and figure
eight circulation pattern that would allow the receptionist to feel as if she
were a part of the office without jeopardizing security or sacrificing
professionalism. Although scheme "B" would work best as a multi-story
facility, it wasnt selected because there were more interior spaces without
exterior views than scheme "A". Scheme "C" offers the most flexible plan
but was not selected due to its numerous odd-shaped spaces that would
contribute to a loss of usable space.
A program for the design of a new facility was developed through
interviews and client input. The employees participated in a research
investigation that focused on their perceptions of their current environment
as well as applications that can be applied toward the design of their ideal
built environment The data that was collected was used to develop
several design standards that are specific to ATA Engineering.
Each employee is to have a private office with an operable window.
Corner offices are discouraged as they are a status symbol and could
create competition among employees who feel that they should have one
of the corner offices. Instead, the corners are to be used as work areas.
Most employees at ATA Engineering lead active lives and frequently
engage in outdoor activities during their lunch hour. For this reason, an
outdoor sports court and exercise/ locker room was included along with
the usual support spaces. The classroom and conference room are not
only for employee use, but also for client use. These rooms need to be
63


near the reception area and separated from the rest of the office for
security reasons. The reception area and the classroom are the only
spaces that should not have views to the outside as the view could pose a
distraction to the work being done.
A hierarchy of spaces was established. One of the main design
objectives was to increase communication while maintaining the current
level of privacy. One way to accomplish this objective is to give
employees private offices and also create spaces for shared use that the
employees would want to use. Preference was given to the public or
semi-public spaces within the office environment. The private offices are
a standard 10 by 12 room with an operable window and swinging door.
In contrast, the work areas are 300 to 500 square feet with corner views
and high potential for interaction. The corridors are five feet wide with a
windowed corridor between the rest of the office and the test area (a
corridor that would otherwise see little use). The largest spaces are the
courtyards. The courtyards are to be landscaped and would serve as
both a desirable lunch or gathering area and a means of visual connection
for the employees with offices with views into it. The reception area is
positioned both at the entrance and the circulation cross-roads. The
reception area is a large area with natural lighting and is to be furnished at
comfortable scale.
Although nearly every employee chose a private office as their
ideal office, there was a difference in levels of privacy and interaction/
supervision desired. The design recommendation in this case is to assign
every employee with a self sufficient private office. There would also be
open work areas for the employees who enjoy having the privacy of a
single office some of the time but also like to receive more input and have
a higher level of interaction with co-workers when working on technical
problems. The work areas would each be equipped with three to four
computer stations and two wall-length white boards. The work areas
64


would be supplemental to the private offices. The computers would be
equipped with specialized programs that need to be shared. The work
areas would also serve as a small group conference area, a co-op
instruction area, and a forum for interdisciplinary input. Each work area
would be shared by approximately fifteen offices.
The business/ accounting group would not need a work area.
However, they generally desire a higher level of interaction than the
engineers and may want their offices situated on a corner for more
efficient interaction. If using a flexible panel system, the business/
accounting group would be more likely to select a thin glass panel in their
wall system so that they could have visual communication and maintain
their auditory privacy.
Another design issue that arose from the research at ATA
Engineering was the importance of locating all of the employees on the
same floor whenever possible. Interaction between employees is
generally decreased when they are located on different floors. In the case
of ATA Engineering, they would be ideally located on the first floor. The
test lab requires easy truck loading access for heavy equipment as well as
a seismic mass built into the test floor. If ATA Engineering needs to be on
the second floor, the test group should have offices on the second floor
with an open stair into a two-story lab space.
Not only is the vertical distance between offices an issue, but the
horizontal distance between offices is as well. Interaction between
employees would be more frequent if the horizontal travel distance
between offices was reduced. One solution may be to double-load the
corridors with offices and locate the offices around interior courtyards.
This solution will cut the travel distance between offices in half and still
allow each office to have a window. Travel distance can be further
decreased by walking through the courtyard. Interaction can be increased
by using the courtyard as an after-work or lunch time amenity.
65


An important piece of office design is the reception area. The
reception area is the first part of the building a client sees and can strongly
influence their first impression of the company. The receptionist is
generally a friendly, outgoing extravert who enjoys interacting with others
and will deliver a friendly greeting to clients.
To meet certain goals for company image and security, the
reception area needs to maintain a degree of separation from the rest of
the office. However, there may be a design solution to meet both the
privacy needs of the office and the interaction needs of the receptionist.
The main recommendation for the ATA Engineering reception area
is to decrease the scale to a more inviting residential scale. A
professional look can be accomplished in spite of the scale by using
modern furniture, plants, and artwork. A change in scale would increase
the potential for interaction with both visitors and clients, and co-workers
passing by the desk. The reception area should also be located closer to
offices and work areas so that the receptionist can have a visual
connection with the rest of the office.
ATA Engineering currently uses a drywall infill system for interior
walls. Another was of giving the user more control over their built
environment is to use a flexible panel wall system. A flexible panel system
Figure 5.2 Reception area with "livingroom scale'
66


consists of full-height wall panels that slide into tracks on the floor and
ceiling. The panels are designed offer an acceptable level of auditory
privacy for hotel conference rooms and would offer a sufficient level of
auditory control for offices. The panels are offered in a variety of
configurations and would allow the users to each choose their own
configuration of opaque and transparent panels for their optimum level of
privacy. The panels allow a great degree of flexibility for space planning
and adjust to individual needs.
Conclusion
An architect can gain valuable information on how a space should
be designed by interviewing and engaging in conversations with the users
of the space. The users provide relevant input on which aspects of their
current work environment are satisfactory and which need improvement.
The design recommendations for ATA Engineering center on giving the
individual control over their environment. The individual offices with
operable windows and doors that swing closed are necessary for the
psychological comfort and work efficiency of the employees. The scale of
the reception area should be modified to encourage more interaction. The
receptionist should also be given a reasonable range in which to orient
him/herself within the reception area and still have a clear view of the
entry. The length of the corridors should be decreased wherever possible
and flexible spaces for group work should be incorporated into the design.
If possible, all of the employees should have offices on the same floor, or
at least split evenly between two floors.
67


Section 6: Conclusion


According to Betchel, "there is no such thing as the design on
space or spaces. Behavior, not space, is enclosed by architecture."61 A
space would not be designed and built if it were not intended to be
inhabited by at least one person for at least a small amount of time.
Instead of architecture being built to enclose space, architecture should be
designed with the understanding that it will also be enclosing behavior.
This point takes us back to Proshanskys theory of place -
identity.62 Each person who comes in contact with the architecture will
form conceptions of the building on several levels. The first level is
cognitive descriptive. They will be able to describe the architecture to
another person based on their personal opinions and perceptions of how
they understand the building. These opinions and perceptions are
reflective of the individuals past experiences and psychological
association patterns. The second level is affective evaluative. A
person will associate the building with the ways in which it affects them.
The third level is role-related. On this level a visitor will have different
cognitive associations with the building than an employee.
An important cognitive factor in building design is that the individual
understand their built environment as something that is not inflexible, but
over which they have some degree of control. An individual will willingly
identify less with a built environment that cannot be interacted with in a
way that is unmistakably human. For instance, graffiti on a highway wall
is, among other things, a way in which the "artist" identifies himself with an
immovable boundary in his environment. Before the "artist" painted the
wall, it was neutral, blank, and belonged to no one. After he altered it, the
wall is associated with him until it is re painted. In office environments
alterations are more subtle. For instance, if an employee brings an old
6.1 Betchel, Robert. Enclosing Behavior. 1977
6.2 Proshanskys theory of place-identity is described in further detail in John Bebners
book Environmental Psychology in Building Design. 1982
68


chair from home and places it in the employee lounge, that chair and the
space around it become indisputably his. Other ways in which employees
exercise control over their immediate environment is to personalize, paint
a wall, or simply have the ability to open a window or close a door for a
greater degree of individual comfort.
Although the influence of architecture on human behavior is limited,
it is irresponsible for an architect to design a building that does not allow
for certain human needs and behaviors. Two basic human needs in office
design are the need for control over ones physical environment and the
need for control over desired levels of interaction and privacy.
Privacy is an elusive factor in design. In the research at ATA
Engineering, definitions of privacy varied from "not being seen or heard" to
"limiting access to intellectual property". Ones perception of privacy
undoubtedly varies with ones definition of privacy. The degree of privacy
desired not only varies with the person but also each situation as well as
the relationship with the "intruding" subject. In designing office
environments, one also needs to design for interaction. If an office
environment is designed in such a way that privacy is encouraged to the
extent that interaction is sacrificed, communication within the company
suffers. If the above statements are true, how is the architect to know how
to design office environments with the proper amount of privacy?
One thing that the architect needs to understand is the users
perception of privacy. Understanding this perception is achieved in two
ways. The first is having a record of how the subject perceives his/her
current environment. The second is having a record of the way in which
the subject perceives his/her environment should change. For the
purpose of research with engineers, sketches and models were used,
since they are a media with which engineers are familiar. The subjects
perception of their current built environment and ideal built environment
will also give the architect insight into possible privacy solutions both on
69


an individual and company level.
Designing an individually tailored office space is not practical for
most companies. In order to visualize the "big picture" and design office
spaces accordingly, the architect must have a grasp of an overall concept
of designing for the company. This can be done through inquiring about
the subjects feelings regarding their concept of privacy issues on a
company-wide scale and how their individual goals for privacy fit into that
picture.
Another factor in office design which may be of use to study is the
effects of other factors on the overall environment satisfaction of the
users. Among other things, these factors would include lighting,
temperature and noise. A more scientific study of the effects of
fluorescent lighting, mechanical noise and prolonged exposure to
computers and other electrical devices would be beneficial to the study of
office design.
In the effort of producing user-oriented design, architects can take
a cue from fantasy environments such as Disneyland. Main Street USA
was not created to replicate the actual conditions of the 1890s, but
instead peoples perceptions and rose-colored memories. If Main Street,
ones introduction to the park, had been created as an exact replica of life
in the 1890s, it would most likely be very ordinary and not nearly as
pleasant. Instead, by creating an introduction that is based on memories
and perception, Main Street gives the visitor the expectation of an
experience that is out of the ordinary.
Studies done by Proshansky, Baum, Ittleson, Canter, and others
state that an individual is affected in some way by their built environment.
The research at ATA Engineering found that the built environment has an
affect on the privacy and communication within the office. Similarly to the
studies mentioned, the research followed the premiss that individuals are
affected by their built environment. In order to design a suitable work
70


environment the ways in which the built environment currently affects its
inhabitants must be discovered as well as their perceptions of certain
environmental factors. When the users perceptions of their ideal
environment are taken into consideration, the resulting design is much
more effective and appropriate to the user. One might even go so far as
to describe a user-oriented work place as the "Happiest Place on Earth".
71


Appendix A: Photographs Used in the
Prototype Selection












I










Appendix B: Lego Pieces Used in the
Simulation






Appendix C: Questions Asked in the
Interview


Questions for Open Office: Subject #
In the interest of the privacy of your co-workers, please refrain from using any names
during the duration of this interview.
Without using specific refferences to your title or specific tasks, how would you describe
what you do?
What is your definition of privacy?
In terms of physical space?
Have you ever altered your physical environment for a greater degree of privacy?
If you were in a cubicle system and had the option of the standard opaque partitions or
soundproof glass, which would you choose?
What degree of supervision is necessary?
If you were working on a project with a colleague how often would you check work for
content and accuracy?
Are you more likely to choose a job based on pay, type of work, or culture?
What is the trade off?
When you think of work, what aspect appeals to you most?
Why did you pick this office?
Briefly describe your work environment.
How do you feel about NT or Linux?
What is your definition of communication?
How does the physical environment encourage of discourage communication?
How hesitant are you to enter another persons office to ask a casual question?
What percentage of your work is done at your desk?
How does this office separate itself into groups?


Do you own a cel phone?
Why?
How often do you interact with coworkers outside of work?
How would you personalize this space?
What is your work area in the picture?
What aspects in the current office would be critical in the open office?


Questions for Cubicles: Subject #
In the interest of the privacy of your co-workers, please refrain from using any names
during the duration of this interview.
Without using specific refferences to your title or specific tasks, how would you describe
what you do?
What is your definition of privacy?
In terms of physical space?
Have you ever altered your physical environment for a greater degree of privacy?
If you were in a cubicle system and had the option of the standard opaque partitions or
soundproof glass, which would you choose?
What degree of supervision is necessary?
If you were working on a project with a colleague how often would you check work for
content and accuracy?
Are you more likely to choose a job based on pay, type of work, or culture?
What is the trade off?
When you think of work, what aspect appeals to you most?
Why did you pick this office?
Briefly describe your work environment.
How do you feel about NT or Linux?
What is your definition of communication?
How does the physical environment encourage of discourage communication?
How hesitant are you to enter another persons office to ask a casual question?
What percentage of your work is done at your desk?
How does this office separate itself into groups?


Questions for Home Office: Subject #
In the interest of the privacy of your co-workers, please refrain from using any names
during the duration of this interview.
Without using specific refferences to your title or specific tasks, how would you describe
what you do?
What is your definition of privacy?
Are you more likely to choose a job based on pay, type of work, or culture?
What is the trade off?
What is the ideal physical distance between home and work?
What is your preferred method of communication for work?
Do you own a cel phone?
Why?
How do you feel about 2-way video conferencing?
What aspects of your current work set-up would be critical in your home set-up?
Briefly describe your feelings about technology.
Briefly describe your feelings about computers.
Why did you choose the home office?
How often do you interact with coworkers outside of work?
Describe your work environment.
Have you ever worked in a home office?
How does this office separate itself into social groups?


Questions for Closed Office Single: Subject #
In the interest of the privacy of your co-workers, please refrain from using any names
during the duration of this interview.
Without using specific refferences to your title or specific tasks, how would you describe
what you do?
What is your definition of privacy?
In terms of physical space?
Have you ever altered your physical environment for a greater degree of privacy?
If you were in a cubicle system and had the option of the standard opaque partitions or
soundproof glass, which would you choose?
What degree of supervision is necessary?
If you were working on a project with a colleague how often would you check work for
content and accuracy?
Are you more likely to choose a job based on pay, type of work, or culture?
What is the trade off?
When you think of work, what aspect appeals to you most?
Why did you pick this office?
Briefly describe your work environment.
How do you feel about NT or Linux?
What is your definition of communication?
How does the physical environment encourage of discourage communication?
How hesitant are you to enter another persons office to ask a casual question?
What percentage of your work is done at your desk?
How does this office separate itself into groups?


Questions for Closed Office Shared: Subject #
In the interest of the privacy of your co-workers, please refrain from using any names
during the duration of this interview.
Without using specific refferences to your title or specific tasks, how would you describe
what you do?
What is your definition of privacy?
In terms of physical space?
Have you ever altered your physical environment for a greater degree of privacy?
If you were in a cubicle system and had the option of the standard opaque partitions or
soundproof glass, which would you choose?
What degree of supervision is necessary?
If you were working on a project with a colleague how often would you check work for
content and accuracy?
Are you more likely to choose a job based on pay, type of work, or culture?
What is the trade off?
When you think of work, what aspect appeals to you most?
Why did you pick this office?
Briefly describe your work environment.
How do you feel about NT or Linux?
What is your definition of communication?
How does the physical environment encourage of discourage communication?
How hesitant are you to enter another persons office to ask a casual question?
What percentage of your work is done at your desk?
How does this office separate itself into groups?
Why is your desk facing the___________?


Do you feel that the office would be more productive in a more open system?
If a manager had the policy of keeping their door closed how would that affect
productivity?
What is the difference between a shared office and an open office?
Would you feel more comfortable sharing an office with a co-worker or a supervisor?
How would you change this office for a greater degree of privacy?
Would you rather share a large office with a noisy co-worker or have a single office?