WeWork, the $20 billion provider of co-working and temporary office spaces, just announced that rockstarchitect Bjarke Ingels will be their Chief Architect, a role in which he’ll advise the company on all their projects, as well as offer his insights and ideas. With Bjarke at the helm, WeWork hopes to impact buildings, neighborhoods, and even broader, the cities in which they’re located by working with city planners and politicians to change the future for the better. In a press release written by CEO and co-founder Adam Neumann, WeWork boasts Bjarke’s creativity and practicality: “Bjarke caught my attention because he’s changing the way we think about architecture. His designs inspire as much as they surprise.”
Modern companies understand that in order to attract and retain the best talent, they have to compete on more than salaries, vacation, and healthcare. Companies like Google, WeWork, Pixar, and Facebook are well known for providing workspaces that inspire creativity, collaboration, and innovation. Clive Wilkinson, the architect of Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters, is quoted as saying, “75 to 80 percent of America is cubicle land. Cubicles are the worst – like chicken farming. They are humiliating, disenfranchising and isolating. So many American corporations still have them.” Modern office designs are the opposite of closed off, fluorescent-lit cubicles- they are open with natural light and little, if any, suggestion of hierarchies.
In addition to designing workspaces that inspire creativity, these modern companies also providing perks like free food, drink, and recreation to entice employees. So what are some of the best practices in designing offices for people’s emotional health and productivity? And what other perks do companies have to offer to attract the top talent?
Photo via pixabay
The co-working company WeWork made headlines in November for announcing its plan to open a private elementary school in New York City designed for “conscious entrepreneurship.” Now, the company has an idea to appeal to a slightly older market: graduate students. According to Bloomberg, WeWork will partner with 2U Inc., an online education provider, to give students seeking an online graduate degree access to any of the co-working offices, with the ability to rent conference rooms for study groups and enjoy the fast WiFi.
Rendering of the planned school by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). Source: WeWork via Bloomberg.
Fast-growing coworking brand WeWork has been in the news recently for the company’s rapid expansion into everything from “co-living” to wellness, including a planned move into the former Lord & Taylor department store Fifth avenue flagship building, which will become the company’s new HQ. Now, Bloomberg reports that the $20 billon startup, which boasts offices in 57 international cities, has plans to launch a private elementary school for “conscious entrepreneurship”called WeGrow in a New York City WeWork location next year. The company has even tapped Danish architect du jour Bjarke Ingels‘ firm BIG to design the first WeWork school, which will likely be within the aforementioned new Fifth Avenue headquarters.
Photo courtesy of Lord & Taylor
With rising rents and a national shift towards e-commerce, retail vacancies in NYC have continued to rise, especially in affluent areas like the Fifth Avenue corridor. Old-school department stores, which once served as cultural destinations where shoppers would spend entire afternoons, have been hit especially hard since they occupy such large sites. One of Midtown’s most iconic, the 103-year-old Lord & Taylor flagship at Fifth Avenue and 39th Street, has decided to stay afloat by selling its 676,000-square-foot Italian Renaissance building to WeWork for $850 million. The co-working company will relocate its global headquarters to the landmark, reports the Times, leaving less than a quarter of the space, roughly 150,000 square feet, to Lord & Taylor.
Co-working space provider WeWork (which has 40,000 members in 19 US, European and Asian cities that share office space with perks like free coffee, cool furniture and a communal atmosphere) has launched their new “co-living” apartment concept, beginning with 45 units in a Wall Street building. FastCompany reports that last weekend, 80 new residents moved into furnished apartments at 110 Wall Street, where the company already runs a co-working space on the building’s first seven floors.
They’re part of what the company says is the first stage of beta testing for this community-driven concept, with New York City as the guinea pig. The concept is, according to a company spokesperson, “focused on enabling people to live more fulfilling lives. During this testing phase, we’ll be listening to feedback from our community.” Plans are in the works to accommodate 600 people on 20 floors of the building.
With shared office spaces like WeWork taking the city by storm, it’s no surprise that the residential real estate community is looking to get in on the commune-style action, especially considering the city’s push for micro housing.
The Daily News reports on “communal living hubs with micro-apartments for young professionals,” calling it the “dorm-itization of New York City.” Instead of traditional one-year leases, these new setups are offering month-to-month contracts where tenants came rent a room at the snap of a finger and move out just as easily. They can also freely apartment hop between buildings of the same owner. In theory, it sounds great for first-time New Yorkers, fresh-out-of-college twenty-somethings, and just about anyone with an uncertainly factor to their lives. But the News notes that a standard, five-bedroom micro apartment community has a lease of about $10,000/month, meaning that the modern nomads renting out rooms are still paying roughly $2,000/month, pretty steep for a single bedroom in a unit shared with a stranger.