Contract - March 2010 - (Page 66)

essay: from the past January 1980 office in a matter of hours; CRTs at every desk, which will permit accessing files and detailed information at the press of a button; computer data banks, which will store untold amounts of information and catalogs for immediate access; highly efficient work environments tailored for maximum productivity, perhaps with new lighting sources not thought up yet; and audiovisual transmissions by satellite that will create instant visual contact with employees half a world away. Workstations may be assembled from off-the-shelf elements. A pipe dream? Not at all. The technological developments listed above either are here now or will be in the early ‘80s. All of them will have a profound effect on the design of offices. An estimate by Daniel F. Kelly, project manager of International Resource Development Inc. (IRD), Norwalk, Conn., projects that up to three million clerical and professional workers in 27 different industries may have their work made more efficient by “personal business terminals” or special-purpose workstations. Increasingly, says IRD, these workstations will be configured into integral desk-like structures, causing computer manufacturers to move into the office furniture market…. IRD, which is a specialized research and management consulting firm, speculates on the possibility that office furniture manufacturers will themselves consider manufacturing specialized workstations, including the electronic components: “Keyboards, CRT displays, microprocessors, and floppy disks are all readily available from OEM sources, so that workstations can be assembled from off-the-shelf elements, without requiring a major investment in electronic design or manufacturing facilities.” astounding technology portends drastic office changes in ‘80s By Len Corlin, Editor in Chief, Contract W hat the pencil did for communications, the microprocessor will do for the office in the ’80s. For the uninitiated, the microprocessor is a fusion of electronics and computing that combines three vital functions: memory, logic, and speed. All three are combined in what is called a silicon chip, so small that if you drop it on your carpeted office floor, you may have trouble finding it, since it measures only one-fifth of an inch square. nents in it. The implications for office design are astounding. Here are some of the microprocessor-involved information management developments contract designers and manufacturers are already, or will be, dealing with: Voice actuated typing, which will involve an executive talking into a microphone and having his words translated into typing; facsimile copiers, which transmit 8½ by 11-in. sheets of data in a matter of minutes, or, if the copier incorporates built-in, optical character recognition capability, at the rate of five or six seconds per page; a laser beam printer-receivertransmitter of documents over telephone lines, which prints at a rate of 1,800 characters per second or 36 pages per minute; talk-back computers, which invite operators to talk to them and then talk back, instead of relying on the typewriter keyboard; nationwide electronic mail systems, which will circumscribe the slower post office department and deliver mail from the California office to the New York “Computers will have ability to talk back to operators.” In that mini-mini circuit, however, is the equivalent of 8,000 transistors. Recall that transistors took the place of vacuum tubes and that the portable radio, which you may have in your pocket, incorporated four to eight transistors. Predictions are that by the mid-1980s, a chip that size will have about one million compo- Equipment will be designed to aid decision making. But that is educated speculation on possible new specification sources. More important to the designer and specifier who will be doing office planning and design are the implications of how radically offices in the 1980s will be changed. While some claim that the office is 66 contract march 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - March 2010

Contract 3/10
Editor’s Note
Essays from the Past:
The Contract Design Dilemma (May 1962)
Space Planning Symposium (July 1963)
Changes in Workplaces Reflect Changes in Task Structure (June 1970)
Women Need Feminine Desks (June 1970)
Name “Interior Designer” Is a Misnomer Because of Broader Duties (August 1970)
Research Reveals Proper Height, Width, Depth of Furniture, from Office Chairs to Library Tables (September 1970)
Astounding Technology Portends Drastic Office Changes in the ’80s (January 1980)
Is the Office Really Necessary? (January 1989)
If You Cut Your Fee, Do You Bleed? (June 1990)
Design: Retrospective
Essays on the Future:
More Happiness, Less Stuff: By Ray C. Anderson
The Social Aspect of Social Responsibility: By John Cary
Leading in the Global Market: By Ross Donaldson
Technology Trends: By Cathryn Barrett
Inadmissible Evidence: By Michael Berens
Designers Rate: Eight Designers Pick Their Favorite Three Commercial Interiors Products of the Last 50 Years
Ad Index

Contract - March 2010