Gallery: Workspace of the Future: Cambridge’s Creative Exchange


These days cubicles are so passé, and we’re starting to seem some inspired green workplaces that encourage creativity and interaction. 5th Studio in Cambridge has designed and built the Creative Exchange, a shared workspace complex with some great sustainable credentials. The building features a small footprint, excellent active and passive solar systems, and a flexible interior that makes great use of natural light. Large communal areas allow people to come and go more freely, and provide more opportunity for meetings, interaction, and well, chances for creative exchanges.

Hip new office offices are incorporating more common work areas with lots of meeting spaces, couches and coffee tables for impromptu discussions, and plenty of power outlets for laptops. These spaces are thought to encourage creative types and designers, who need lots of space for their ideas and collaboration, and with telecommuters often working from home and only needing to come to work for meetings, there is really less need for individual offices that take up valuable real estate and consume power. It’s not like we need bookshelves and filing cabinets anymore, since we’ve all gone paperless, right?

5th Studio‘s Creative Exchange works to solve the office conundrum with large and flexible meeting rooms that foster collaboration. Designed as a meeting place for creative workers, as many as 14 different companies could operate within its doors. The first floor works for meetings, exhibits and other events, while the second and third floor have shared offices, common areas and private work spaces. A rooftop garden with solar panels also encourages camaraderie and interaction outside, and the office building is set within a beautiful outdoor space, with lots of trees.

Exposed concrete walls were used to add thermal mass to the solar passive design, while a natural ventilation system reduces cooling needs. There are many windows to let light in to reduce the use of artificial lighting. The solar panels help power the building, while the rooftop garden reduces heat gain.

The open and flexible design of this office is sure to encourage some creative thinking – it almost makes us wish we went in to the office more often…

+ 5th Studio

Via Jetson Green


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  1. nofelix January 24, 2009 at 10:31 am

    angie717 –

    Because 90 degree angles are efficient? It’s easy to fit furniture in right angled corners, Cladding materials and flooring systems are made rectilinear, as are many other things.

    If you could save a lot of energy/material by using different shapes I’m sure they would have done it. If they were using different materials (like earth filled tires) that don’t work better with 90 degree angles then fine, criticize away. But it’s not a bad thing to use cubes just because they’re simple.

    Then again, if you made something that looks more than superficially like this in your first semester then maybe you’re a genius and know more than I.

  2. angie717 January 22, 2009 at 9:19 am

    I get that this building is “green” and uses solar energy, and I think that’s great. We should use more of this technology in our buildings. However, why do architects and designers that build “green” and modern buildings seem to be obsessed with 90 degree angles and cubes? This somewhat resembles my final project from my first semester of architecture…which isn’t a compliment.

  3. chrisp68 January 21, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Please tell me this is not the future. This is so far from eco friendly, if not just a monstrosity to look at! Looks like a beach house on stilts gone bad.

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