Creative Workplace Alchemies: Individual Workspaces and Collaboration Hotspots

Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


Much like creative knowledge work environments, studio-based design education environments are changing rapidly to include: multidisciplinary teams, information technology, geographically distributed teams, and flexible workspaces. Factors such as, architectural space design, furniture choices, technical infrastructure features, acoustics, socio-cultural norms, and privacy and visibility of wall-sized displays support or hinder workers in creative environments. In this chapter, I describe a case study of a graduate design studio at the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University. The studio has four connected spaces: individual workspaces, collaborative spaces, a kitchen and social café area, and a distance-learning classroom. In earlier work, researchers evaluated student satisfaction through fieldwork, pre-post occupancy surveys, and interviews. In this chapter, I analyze a design studio environment through time-lapse photography, Space Syntax analysis, and semi-structured interviews. This research identifies locations where people and teams work and the factors that support collaboration, such as space configuration, wall-sized display affordances, furniture configurations, and support infrastructures. Teams worked more often in locations that were less visible from other locations, provided greater laptop screen and display privacy, had whiteboards, and electrical outlets. Students did individual work throughout the studio-suite regardless of the function assigned to the spaces.


Individual Work Social Space Round Table Initiate Interaction Large Display 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the Berkman Faculty Development Fund at Carnegie Mellon University for partially supporting this research; Andrea Fineman, Xiaowei Jiang, Yin Wang for their assistance with field observations, data collection, and time-lapse coding; Chang Liu for her assistance with the Space Syntax analyses; Professor Bruce Hanington, the Director of Graduate Studies, for his support of this research effort; and three anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of DesignCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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