The Effect Of Spatial Design On Comfort And Engagement In The Workplace

Student: Darpan Arora
Advisor: Dan Faoro

There is a significant relationship between individuals and their environment crucial to determining how they feel, perform, and interact with others. Making room for the different ways employees work and teams collaborate is a key to an effectiveworkplace design. This research is aimed at providing critical insight into how workplace environments influences physical comfort and employee engagement in an office, and to identify ways to leverage design for enhanced wellness of its employees.

In over 200 employees surveyed in seven architectural offices in Michigan, the study found that 91% of highly engaged employees report higher satisfaction level while only 35% of less engaged employees report high satisfaction in their office. Together with site observations and survey responses, it highlights a gap between the type of spaces employees work in or have and the type of space they prefer for different activity-based work. The primary purpose of this research is to advocate for the need for enhanced overall satisfaction and wellness of employees within the workplace.

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Public Toilets: Implications In/For Architecture

Student: Allaa Makdad
Advisor: Deirdre Hennebury

A reflection of societal values, the public toilet is a politicized space that provides sanitation in the public realm. In addition to its role in supporting a basic human need through sanitation provision, the public toilet is also a space that provides solidarity in the face of congestion, a place where one develops and affirms identity [Koolhaas, 2014].

In the nineteenth century through the twenty-first century, the public toilet has shifted from an external urban condition to an internalized urban issue. It once stood as a symbol of modernity in the congested streets of industrial cities, and progressed to be prominently featured in accessibility debates. As a design object with many significant facets, the public toilet continues to appear on the foreground of polarizing trends pertaining to social values.

This thesis is a historic-interpretive examination of the public toilet in the last two centuries that reconsiders the boundaries of architectural design. The research informs our understanding of the public toilet in London, Paris, and New York through the lens of hygiene, policy, and design. Analyzing the similar urban conditions with varying political implication reveals compelling trends in architecture. The project reflects on the politics of providing public amenities, the impact of the public toilets in the social realm, and the significance of the role of the architect in the life of the public toilet moving into the twenty-first century.

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