Why The Shard is a new generation of office building

Over the past decade, Professor Jeremy Myerson, Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, has been conducting a study into the relationship between the workspace and the city.

The results of his research included the identification of 'the three Cs' of a productive workplace: collaboration, concentration, contemplation. Here he discusses the first:

The Shard represents a new generation of office building more interested in effectiveness than efficiency. Its offices aren’t places in which to sit and crunch numbers: they’re spaces where 21st-century 'knowledge workers’ can collaborate with each other and use their creativity effectively.

“At The Shard, the floor plates are atypically generous, and allow a range of settings to be created within them”
Jeremy Myerson

Thirty years ago, offices had lots of long corridors with desks behind closed doors. Although people were concentrating like mad, teamwork was terrible. Then the walls were torn down; it was all about open-plan space, and working life became one big brainstorm.

However, for true collaboration, workers require dedicated collaborative zones that allow them to create and challenge ideas. At The Shard, the floor plates are atypically generous, and allow a range of settings to be created within them. It has a very broad appeal and will become a model for other cities.

The biggest challenge for companies moving into such a landmark building is to think in brave new ways. The Shard offers premium office space in a fantastic location, so they need to bring in their rainmakers, their dealmakers, and get them to use the building to come together. It’s a showpiece building with incredible views - you can’t just fill it with bog-standard desks.