Most businesses these days fancy themselves as fluid organizations, blissfully devoid of hierarchical bureaucracy. But that's usually a farce, and one need only look at the seas of cubicles and floors separating management from employees to see behind the facade.
To solve this old fashioned office layout problem, Swiss Life hired Camenzind Evolution. The architects produced one huge spiral, reminiscent of the flowing galleries of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim New York. Camenzind claims that the open-ended floorplan, in which work spaces, conference rooms, and lounges all melt together, "unlocks a host of intriguing possibilities for interaction and co-operation." Sounds grand, doesn't it?
All of the building's spaces lie along a ramp that rises gently from the ground to the top-most floor; the entire building wraps around a single, light-filled atrium, thus bringing airy, natural light throughout. Meanwhile, the various rooms have been designed with flexible partitioning, so that in the future the occupants won't be bound to a layout that seemed natural 10 years ago, but no longer makes sense. Will the new layout actually make Swiss Life a less hierarchical organization? The only way to find out may be through a series of high-level meetings.
[Via Daily Tonic, which has more images]