Carl Knutson
Perkins+Will, Washington DC

The future of the high-rise timber building? It is not a super-tall predicated on technology that doesn’t exist, but a more thoughtful integration into the existing urban fabric. This typology is not encouraged in mega-cities, but it does exist in Washington DC where zoning regulations encourage density over height. It is in that context of progressive associations and innovative clients where we envision the office of the future. To achieve these goals, design focuses on four components: efficiency, sustainability, resiliency, desirability—working in concert to revolutionize the office paradigm.

The building is efficient in design and systems. It is simple, functional, and durable, re-thinking existing technologies and methodologies including exploring hybrid systems in a didactic living laboratory for learning and innovation. Combining strategies to reduce energy load while maximizing efficiency in the workplace promotes health and well-being. Maximizing carbon capture in timber enhances performance in a building designed for flexibility in technology and purpose. The building is resilient—adaptable, providing safety to its occupants during shocks and stressors, comfort, social connections and respite to the surrounding community. The building can only be net zero carbon, water, and energy, by being deeply integrated into locality. Lastly desire, creating the office of the future requires that the building be desirable so that occupants respond positively to the aesthetics in the urban experience, the public space, the workplace, and user comfort. The building will not be successful unless it is desirable.