Uncertainty brings new opportunities in a post-Corona era. We need to rethink how we use our buildings and embrace the unexpected. While many real estate companies are figuring out how much office space they need in a hybrid work environment, we imagined how buildings could change function over time. This concept that we named ‘blended use’ creates win-win opportunities for everyone, humans and the planet.
Blended use differs from mixed-use as the dimension’ time’ is added to space. The pandemic accelerated this development. This ‘blending’ trend fits in with the rise of the sharing economy, in which sharing of services and products is central. Driven by uncertainty in the real estate market, blending now spreads to office buildings. So, when we design a space, we consider and imagine the future’s possibilities of blended use.
Buildings are used on average 50 hours a week and empty for about 70% of the time. Thus, imagine what would happen if we would make better use of our buildings by switching users during the day, week or month? Our approach can benefit real estate developers and building owners, as they depend less on a single tenant, and utilising vacant hours also generates additional rental income. Moreover, blended use offers several advantages for people and the planet in an era of climate change and housing shortage. Optimising space in existing real estate reduces the need for new construction. In the end, not building at all is better than building sustainably.
In most office buildings, the separation between people is central. Although sometimes various functions are combined, mostly, they are still separated. Through blending, we remove all traditional divisions between people. Our philosophy is to create spaces that can employ and mix multiple functionalities to enrich a complete building. Ultimately, a workspace should merge different disciplines with similar values and generate unexpected crossovers.
A blended venue is much more than just a regular office. We created DB55, our workspace in the Houthavens Amsterdam, as a prototype for a building where innovation, education, sport, art, food, fun and leisure come together. The design for this blended venue focuses strongly on flexibility and circularity, while use every square meter four times over. Quadrupling the space gives 1,100 m2 the value of 4,400 m2. Through several creative interventions, various functions quickly change over time, which unites and cross-pollination between various participants reinforces each other.
Through blended use and placemaking, we can increase the user value of workspaces, buildings and public spaces. We believe that sustainability is not only about materials but also about people. Therefore, we prefer building with and for the human scale and not necessarily constructing with stones and timber. Our placemaking projects aim to explore the possibilities of creating meaningful spaces and moments that build on values, inspiration and the potential of local communities because we intend to create environments that promote the health, happiness, fun and wellbeing of its participants.
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Partner / Director