BCG New York is moving into the brand new 10 Hudson Yards 53 story skyscraper, occupying floors 42-47. The new space will have an open plan configuration with collaboration in mind. Key to the new design is to double the number of chance ‘collisions’ between staff throughout their daily activities. These collisions will, according to the firm’s New York Managing Partner Ross Love, increase productivity, efficiency and inspirational thinking.
New York’s Hudson Yards re-development project was created in lieu of the proposed West Side Stadium, after the city lost its 2012 Summer Olympic bid. The commercial development, the largest of its kind in the US, is a joint venture by the New York City Department of City Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The development involves the creation of 16 skyscrapers, which contain an area of 1,180,000m2. The total area is divided into 560,000m2 for commercial office space; 70,000m2 for a retail centre with two levels of restaurants, cafes, markets and bars, a hotel and a cultural space; and around 5,000 residences, a school and a large 5.7ha public open space.
The new development also comes with opportunities for new entrants into the office areas, which are large, open and sunny. And as decisions about hard lines and cubicles have not yet been made, companies are given complete design freedom.
Open office space
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also signed for office space within 10 Hudson Yards, at the corner of 10th Avenue and 30th Street. The firm’s New York office, with around 500 staff, will make a move into the 42nd to 47th floors, covering 18,000m2, sometime around autumn 2016.
BCG’s New York management started looking for new office space in the summer of this year, after its current Park Avenue location, with its old style management and operational configuration of closed-door offices, became noticeably obsolete. Ross Love, BCG’s New York Managing Partner, remarks that “People were in the usual offices with windows, and the space has lots of columns. We wanted to create the office of the future, and that meant not the old shutting your door and working type environment, but big open spaces.”
The office of the future needed to conform to a number of factors and Love interviewed his staff about what would make for an ideal office format for them, as he reasons that “People should be the author of their own space.” Further considerations included looking at commuting schedules, as well as considering recent discoveries surrounding work process.
While the firm considered a number of options, including 4 World Trade Centre, the final decision was in part inspired by the new ways in which offices and space provide for collaboration – something that the freedom to design in the Hudson Yard development area provided. Love notices that only around 150 staff works permanently from the office, as many of the consultants are working at clients’ offices, while traveling or at home. Like at many consulting firms, an open planned use of the space was decided for, where transient consulting staff could be assigned workstations based on the teams they have been assigned to – with various functional meeting and design rooms providing more intimate collaboration areas.
The open planned nature of the design has another function however. Love responds to research that shows that a lot of ‘work’ is actually done informally through chance ‘collisions’ of people. The whole office space, even the stairs leading up to the office, is designed around increasing the chances of small informal collisions between staff of all ranks, such that key information may be, seemingly by chance, transferred between staff. These pieces of information are in many cases the key to solving otherwise complex puzzles. Love has designed the space to allow for 20% of the day to be open for chance collisions. “We’re not talking about discussing the Knicks game over the weekend,” says Love. “Someone working on a sales force issue runs into someone who handled a similar assignment a few years ago, and learns from their experience.”
A study by BCG last year earmarked New York as the globe's second best city to work in, ahead of Paris and Sydney, trailing just London. The move to the brand new skyscraper will however come with a hefty price tag – the US city is the second most expensive place in the world when it comes to office rental in a skyscraper, with Hong Kong leading the pack.