Portfolio Project Detail

MakerBlock Daya Zhang and Yue Chen

MakerBlock – The Future of Workplace

The pandemic has left the City of London, which witnessed robust corporate life, a ghost town. With improving tele-commuting technologies, the Work-From-Home mode proves to be an effective one which gives people more flexibility of where and when to work. Then what will attract us back to work in the city center? Based on the assumptions that most of work which were previously done in the office towers (e.g., financial analysts and software engineers, etc.) can be accomplished remotely on computers, we argue that those types of work which still need people to go the physical space are those heavily depending on equipment and materials. We call those groups of people – Makers.

From the traditional craftsmen to the tech-savvy inventors, creative makers need tools and workshop/labs to make things. These makerspaces are diverse, requiring different environments to satisfy different interests. Some are customized for biotechnology, some for construction, and some for whisky distillery. Those workshops which were previously thought as dirty and noisy are evolving into sleeker ones which can be moved back to the city center. By leveraging the city center’s existing infrastructure and its proximity to the government (policy incentives) and financial sector (potential investors), we propose to revitalize the City of London with MakerBlocks – a community where makers from all stages of life and all skill levels come together to share tools and forge a new era of craft and innovation.

A basic workshop is 12 (W) x 21(L) x 6 (H) meters. It can be expanded into a larger one by combining with the adjacent ones or by stacking to accommodate over-sized objects, such as distillery equipment. It can also be subdivided into smaller studios or sleeping pods for a break. Corner lots are common space, such as the welcome center, material library, exhibition center and kid’s education club. An APP offers makers a convenient way to check the availability of workshops, order materials and make transactions.

The MakersBlock is not only a material resource but also a community of talents that keep each other company during the late nights when people are putting their heads around a problem only a small bunch of people believe in. An open roof terrace provides fun social space with dynamic topography and pavilions. Open views towards London’s splendid skylines provides a daily source of inspiration. On the inside of the block, a courtyard ramp circles down from the roof terrace connecting all workshops. On the outside, continuous glazing at the street level showcases the maker’s passion, progress and products.

As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution back in the 1790s, we believe London is the best city to initiate MakerBlock – a millennial prototype of industrialism and the future of the workplace.