טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentMelamed Rachel
SubjectThe Balance Between Physical Closure and Openness in Office
Workspaces and the Connection to Interaction
Between Workers and Their Need for
Privacy
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Dr. Dafna Fisher Gewirtzm
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The study concerns balancing between physical “enclosure” and “openness” in office work spaces and the link to encouraging interaction among employees, while addressing concerns in respect of the employee’s privacy. The study has developed a scheme of themes and categories from which a balancing model had been developed, capable of examining any work environment in terms of balancing between privacy and interaction. The understanding that employees with needs and desires occupy offices had not been addressed up to the seventies of the twentieth century. Only then did administrators begin to understand that a change of approach is required. Professional literature indicates that the companies and administrations wish to encourage interactions and collaborations among employees, flexibility in design and financial savings in investing in infrastructures

The study’s environment had focused on three office buildings in Israel, in an urban setting in Tel Aviv, in mountain settings in Jerusalem, and in the industrial zone in Shoham. Five office types had been identified in the buildings that were studied. Work setting for clerical work rather than high tech offices. The study’s question is what are the physical characteristics in office work settings that support interaction and what are those that support privacy, are there any physical characteristics that enable balancing between interaction and privacy, and is it possible to develop a model for assessing and supporting the design of balanced work environments? The study’s main objectives are: 1. developing a model for the analysis, assessment and identification of work environments that support the balance between the employee's privacy and interaction. 2. Identifying the characteristics of office work settings that enable this balance.

The study method, the qualitative method had been used in the case study approach. The study’s tools had been qualitative tools such as interviews, observations, and the analysis of documents, as the office buildings’ plans constituted the documents. For analyzing the plans, use had been made of quantitative tools, topological analyses and geometric indices. As part of the study, interviews had been conducted with 60 employees as well as observations. For the case study method, five case studies had been selected and compared with one another.

The balancing model has been developed based on offices that are not within the hi-tech domain and relies on interviews with various types of employees. In the future it will be possible to expand the study to include contemporary office buildings or work environments.  It will be possible to learn the similarities and differences and how to expand the set of terms appearing in this study pursuant to the themes and categories’ scheme and the criteria of the balancing model in this study.

The theoretical contribution of this study is the development of the balancing model. The practical contribution is the provision of tools for designing balanced work environments. The model may also contribute to administrators in preparing concept designs as well as to the employees taking part in the design of work environments.