The Office Needs to Go

Social and conventional media are jubilant about the resurgence of the workplace—the re-filling of office buildings, the collateral uptick in retail spend, and the resumption of daily commutes. What a travesty.

Anthony Fieldman

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NeueHouse: Productivity, renewed

To begin with, I am an architect—one who is ardently committed to making and enjoying places of creative incubation, social immersion and yes, productive purpose.

With that said, the office was—and remains—utterly broken as a typology. Or, at the very least, due for a massive upgrade.

A v2.0, in line with the fact that our Machine-Age vision of humans as units of productivity was not only selling us short as creative, multi-faceted beings, it was forcing us into cages no one would choose if it weren’t for the stranglehold of capitalism and the hegemony of the corporation.

That’s because the overwhelming majority of places of work were forged in response to an Industrial Age, which depended on brute labor to fuel it and demanded that workers shed their innate polymathic tendencies and instead choose a singular path of specialty. Like workhorses, we allowed our overlords to put blinders on us, convincing us that a narrow focus was the only path to “winning” at life.

Accordingly, people were—first and foremost—seen by prospective employers as a mechanism for achieving the goals of the entity for which they worked. That is, people were means to an end, and that end was always money.

Thus, since the Industrial Revolution brought the masses out of their homes for the first time and into dedicated workplaces—whether to the factory floor or the office—work has reflected the core needs of the people paying for our hours. And those drivers of work have been unwavering. They are efficiency, profitability, and control (of people and market share).

Before we traded the flexibility, self-authorship and financial uncertainty of the “cottage industry” that largely defined pre-Industrial society for the rigidity, servitude and financial security of third-party employment, our drivers were very, very different. They began with the wellbeing of our family, and ended with… the wellbeing of our family. Before…

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Anthony Fieldman

Architect | Photographer | Writer | Philosopher | Polyglot | Windmill Jouster | Nomade Civilisée