The New Meaning of Office Space

Commercial Corner


Erik Peterson
Principal, PHX Architecture


The definition of traditional office space has taken on a whole new meaning.  Gone are the days of joining a company and being assigned to your cubicle while working your way up to a corner office. The old environment was task-oriented and became detrimental to productivity – giving little opportunity for collaboration and a team environment. Today, companies are wanting office space designed to create an open workspace. This allows for increased productivity via a collaborative co-worker environment that inspires cross pollination at every level. Further, open work space gives employees a greater awareness and the feeling of being part of something bigger – a team.

The open floor plan is not a new concept. Frank Lloyd Wright designed an open floorplan for the Johnson Wax headquarters building in Racine, Wisconsin in the 1930s. His purpose was to group employees with similar functions together.

Recently, we designed the new PHX Architecture office as a prototype for the open workplace concept for our clients.  We decided to re-imagine our space to allow for a mobile desk floorplan that would work with how we set up our teams for all of our architectural projects. The space can literally set up multiple pod areas by simply moving desks to accommodate each team.   Several glass conference rooms were also created to give an open feel while providing a place to hold private meetings and presentations when needed.

The trend moving forward is for office space to be truly centered on team collaboration for all industries and business types. More businesses are requesting a loose and fun environment that promotes creative discussion with interchangeable teams. For example, the need for stress relief is increasingly important; therefore, space design includes designated rooms or podstyle areas for yoga, napping, video games, TV and ping pong – traditionally this design was seen in tech companies and now moving toward any business industry.

Another trend with companies is supplying food in the workplace. New designs include stocked, open pantries and multiple kitchen areas. This gives employees special amenities along with a sense of community interaction and engagement.

The evolution of a well-designed space coupled with the attention that is now being given to company wellness is essential for increasing productivity levels, the recruitment process and employee retention.

Erik Peterson is a licensed Architect in the states of Arizona, Idaho, Hawaii, Texas, and California. Erik is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registrations Board (NCARB) and managed many diverse and award winning projects throughout the Western United States. Erik can be reached at 480-477-1111 or visit