10 Jan Workplaces?
Open Plan? Cellular? Flexible? Tied to a computer or phone? Always in meetings? Have laptop will travel? There are lots of different types of office space required for a modern business.
Tied to a production line or workstation? Everything automated and robotised? Sat on checkout for hours? Sat on a forklift moving around in a large shed? Everything made in a shed or China? Retail and factory / industrial workplaces are very varied too.
I could go on. But. The world is changing and many businesses will need to change very rapidly very soon. Manufacturing needs fewer people, retail does not require checkouts and tills (see Amazon’s new shop in the USA!). Software can do many mundane office jobs too. The buildings and interiors that most businesses occupy will therefore need to change too ahead of that inevitable change.
Town centres offer most of the benefits and flexibility that will be required. Why work on the edge of town surrounded by a sea of cars? Why not work where there are cafes to meet in, shops to buy lunch, most bus routes go there so there is less need for the car. The railway station is usually nearer too, there are gyms to ‘work out’ in, etc etc. Guess what, town centres also contain empty floorspace above the high rental retail space at ground level. If the facilities of a town centre are used less floor space is needed for your business too (on top of the ‘leaner’ workforce).
Kettering could be at the forefront of such a shift in business practices. It has a town centre that buses travel to, it has a railway station, it has cafes and it has spare floor space. Not only that Kettering has hotels, a conference centre, Wicksteed Park, stately homes and open countryside within walking distance. Not many places can say that. With the new ‘urban extension’ Kettering deserves a town centre that can develop and grow to cater for an increasing population in an organic way through incremental change rather than a massive ‘comprehensive redevelopment scheme’ that can never be justified in terms of finance, sustainability, aesthetics or common sense. With the good rail service to London we are only an hour from St.Pancras / Kings Cross, one of the fastest growing areas of London. Kettering is nearer to it in terms of travel time than many places inside the M25.
“KR.eativ: Architects is therefore looking for the businesses that want to rethink the way they work and the location they want to work in. We are seeking the owners of the buildings with the ‘spare’ floorspace that could become an income for them.”