End of Work
In the Tijdschema scenario, economic stagnation has prompted the government to drastically reduce the standard work week. Employment levels remain high, but individuals (and employers) have to make do with reduced income. The national scheduling system was introduced not just to help people easily coordinate and allocate their time, but also ensure the most efficient use of resources—like existing transit infrastructure and vacant office space.
Hertzberger’s structuralism—the repeated, standard module—is suited to to the deployment of standardized partitions and desks in a few configurations. The building as it exists today is able to adapt to the preferences and culture of most traditional office tenant types.
But in the future, demands on buildings, working modes, and user types will change too quickly for any labor-intensive reconfiguration to be practical. Buildings—especially large ones like the Ministry that won’t be able to depend on finding a large single tenant—will need to offer a variety of spaces concurrently, none too aligned to any one particular use. The juxtaposition of difference will further increase its value.
Characteristics of the spaces within the building—access routes, light quality, ceiling height, enclosure—result from aggregation of the modules. The distribution of the modules results in a building where each space is unique. And while the new modules are contained within the existing structural grid, use patterns and rental subdivisions need not.