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Thesis Research

AGHAAZ |
collaborative
workspaces + third
places
Rao Umair Afzaal

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

CONTENTS
ABSTRACT................................................................................................................... 3
CHAPTER 1.................................................................................................................. 4
INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................ 5
HYPOTHESIS............................................................................................................. 7
THESIS STATEMENT.................................................................................................. 8
OBJECTIVES............................................................................................................. 9
RATIONALE............................................................................................................ 11
SCOPE.................................................................................................................... 12
STRATEGIC PLAN.................................................................................................... 14
CHAPTER 2................................................................................................................ 15
RESEARCH.............................................................................................................. 16
METHODS............................................................................................................... 17
FRAME WORK......................................................................................................... 20
SITE SELECTION..................................................................................................... 21
RATIONALE............................................................................................................ 22
BIBLIOGRAPHY.......................................................................................................... 23

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

ABSTRACT

Architecture is either becoming out of context and repetitive, or on the other


hand becoming more prudent and sensible in terms of sustainability,
participatory planning etc. and these aspects are gaining importance among
architects and designers but though we are getting better at designing in
environmentally conscious ways incorporating green spaces, avoiding the
wastage of sources but the buildings somehow still lack the sensitivity
towards the human behaviors and human programmatic needs. As a result
the spaces designed prioritize objects over subject, exchange over the value
and ignore other social and aesthetic qualities leading to the creation of
spaces that are increasingly scripted and homogenous. Complimenting this
statement is the fact that an anti-LEED campaign has been started, that
believes that achieving mere building sustainability means nothing if the
human context and human needs are being ignored. A solution to these
problems has been provided by human behavior itself by their inclination
towards informal spaces and an example is in the form of third places, places
used for work but other than home and offices famously star bucks. The
core challenge of architectural spaces should be to facilitate the users need
for interaction, comfortable living and connected learning opportunities to
nourish creativity, inspiration and innovation.

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

KEY WORDS: lack of sensitivity, anti-LEED, third places, connected


learning, networking opportunities, informal space

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

CHAPTER 1

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

INTRODUCTION
The late 2000s has seen an emerging new kind of workplace, a place
designed to host creative people and entrepreneurs who endeavor to break
isolation and to find a convivial environment that favors meetings and
collaboration: the co working place. Basically inspired by the participatory
need and culture and the empowering nature of IT, co working spaces have
redefined the way we do our work. The trend was followed after the trend of
third places, the social surroundings separate from the two usual social
environments of home and the workplace. Overall there is a kind of informal
touch in these patterns, the humans being somewhat tired of the solid
difference between home and work, making them look for a third place.
The thesis intends to concentrate upon this trend of informal living , and how
it can be linked to formal architectural typology ( co-working ). It aims to
create an architectural intervention, an intervention that is basically an
extension to the co working spaces in terms of programs and builds upon the
two concepts, co-working and third places, to improve its present condition
in the city.
Islamabad as a city, has a lot of informal spaces, but whenever such
programs are consolidated in the specific buildings for them, they have been
failing to stabilize mainly due to financial issues, the thesis tends to address
that issue as well and look for the possible solutions to that. It also concludes

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

that the importance of byproduct programs or additional functions to make


the proposed typology successful.

The thesis aims to solve the issues by seeking solutions to questions such as:

how can this trend of informal meetings be translated/linked to

improve the co-working spaces?


how can the idea of third places connect to co-working?
aims to rethink the idea of these spaces not only as a programmatic
intervention but also as an architectural manifestation of that

program?
what was the main issue behind the failure of co working and

collaborative work spaces in the city?


How far can architecture play a

role

in

accommodating

the

requirements?

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

HYPOTHESIS

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

THESIS STATEMENT
AGHAAZ- a collaborative workspace combined with third places to facilitate
better connected learning and creation through architectural expression.

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

OBJECTIVES

AGHAAZ will not be just a workspace, but will rather include a community
and corporate side to it as well. The community side involving recreation and
leisure facilities to help the stakeholders ( architects, designers etc, creative
industry ) get involved with the community and the corporate side to make
the space economically self sustainable.
SOCIAL:

provides citizen with platform for a subsidized collaborative workspace


an opportunity for people who can't afford full office to enjoy all the

facilities and bring the best out of them.


to help graduates bridge the gap between academic sphere and

business sphere by acting as an incubator.


provides an opportunity for community

expression and youth engagement.


preservation and promotion of talented people who need a push or a

place to help them express themselves


to form a vibrant society of civic minded people, acting as a source of

inspiration and a space for dialogue


an easy access for all the emerging talents to exhibit their talents.

involvement,

creative

ENVIRONMENT:

RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

respects the context and environment in terms of program selection


design that is sustainable and responds to climate, it will be the design

phase techniques,
effective use of natural and local sources, the materials used will be

mainly local and


incorporates passive techniques to make the building sustainable
environment friendly civic amenities.

RATIONALE

Collaborative and co-working workspaces have proved to be really helpful in


getting the best out of the people, and almost 78 % of the workers have
produced better results than working alone or at home. While the co-working
spaces have been a great success all around the world, Pakistan
unfortunately is lagging behind in this regard, and by 2013 only 1 such
working space was being designed. Furthermore, some of the organizations
who are working on these lines like Kuchkhaas, Plan 9 and the second floor,
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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

they reside within the buildings, mostly houses, those are not designed for
the purpose of collaborative working, and thus such architecture / buildings
are not being able to mould around to meet the demands of such
programmatic requirements and they end up either giving negative effects
on users, or are deserted.
Pakistan is the 5th largest country in the world in terms of freelancers and
with the number of educational institutes increasing the graduates and
professionals have increased as well, the need of such places in order to
avoid unemployment have never been more, and is actually increasing with
every passing day.
Islamabad is a city with creative minds from different walks of lives that tend
to start off an initiative but lacks a social space to inhabit it. The thesis aims
to design such a space that will provide the users with a platform to
showcase their skills and inculcate within the users a sense of ownership that
is borne out of such venture. It intends to design such a space that provides
a platform to establish a strong bond between the program and the user with
the help of architecture, it aims to establish a dialogue, an amalgamation of
social and practical life.

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

SCOPE

The project basically aims to form the foundation of a new typology where
social, ecological and economic sustainability goes hand in hand. The main
aim of the project is to form a platform which is significant not only in terms
of programs but also architecturally expressive and significant as well.
Islamabad as a city has a lot of spaces which act as a platform for emerging
talents, but this hasn't been considered as a different building typology but
rather small houses have been converted into these places. programs and
administrative changes can only be successful to only a limited extent and
often end up closing due to the lack of funding, the project aims to take
those programs to a next level where they form a new typology and
incorporates other commercial aspects as well.
The scope of the work outlined is as follows:

study of society at large and their behavioral patterns within the


context of the capital city of Islamabad considering its multi faceted

culture
the project aims to a particular user segment, creative industry,

architects, designers and web designers etc.


there are three main parts workspace, leisure space and corporate

zone.
the spaces in the building will include multipurpose exhibition space, a
cafe, communal zones, interactive spaces, meeting and conference
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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

rooms, casual and group meeting rooms along with the working spaces

for the users.


integration of architecture and programs to create a space that not
only provides a recreational and vocational opportunity but also

becomes a symbol, a source of inspiration


layouts considering the nature of spaces and also considering the

future requirements
the building will be high rise in nature and the scale depending on the

spaces required
the scope is ambiguous for now but the method will be site criteria and
selection first, then the number of people to be accommodated in the
site considering its area and then the sizes of the interior programs will
be defined.

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STRATEGIC PLAN

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CHAPTER 2

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

RESEARCH

How can this trend of informal living linked with formal working spaces?
How can the growing need of workplaces in our society be catered? The
primary aim of the research is based on how can trend of informal living be
joined together and designed in such a way that it facilitates the learning
among users in co working environments and is focused on understanding
how these co working spaces have developed into one of the most successful
business hubs .
The second part of the research will focus more specifically on the situation
of Islamabad to explore and evaluate the opportunities through user
centered design, development and evaluation of such facilities. this research
will be focused on:

understand

the

user

attitudes

and

challenges

for

social

of

co

working

environments in the city

incorporate

design

strategies

and

programmatic

interventions to enhance the learning among users and interaction


among them and with the context

design and develop a method to improve the architectural typology


supporting the users and programs

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

METHODS

The research will be conducted by using different methods:


LITERATURE REPORTS AND ARTICLES:
To acquire deeper knowledge about research regarding the present scenario
of working, and how the behavior of the people changed over the course of
time.

For an architecture of reality by Michael Benedict, this book actually


formed the basis of concept behind the thesis, that the architecture
based on the requirements and human behaviors is what is needed to
achieve a connection between the humans and buildings and how the
architecture that considers the people and their needs has more

significance in terms of acceptance by the people.


Evolve the way you work: the role of Co working spaces, Incubators
and Accelerators by Paul o Brien, it

basically talks about how co

working spaces, incubators and accelerators should be joined together


for

even better results. this knowledge was helpful specially

considering the site is in Islamabad, where the co working spaces and


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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

incubators alone haven't been able to produce extra ordinary results,


therefore it gave another option of how things can be shaped for a

better working place.


Co working the office of the future by Sallie S Hyman, a more statistics
based report and gives the stats about how people have improved the
quality of work and comparison of these spaces in different countries.
Sadly, Pakistan only has 1 authorized co working space.

The research aim as mentioned earlier is yet not achieved as to what exactly
can be the most beneficial work place for the users, so the research is still
worked on.
1. INTERVIEWS:
Over the course of the research interviews will be conducted with
people who are involved in the chosen topic. Their involvement is
either in terms of their professional background in Architecture or
entrepreneurship or based on their knowledge and opinion on the
topic. The aim of these interviews is to understand what kind of
problems they faced in the introduction of such programs in the
society, how they can be improved and what kind of design will suite
the programs the more.
Another important factor will be interviewing the people who started
such programs in the country but due to one reason or the other, the
objectives weren't achieved. This information achieved will form the
basis of the programs to be incorporated other than workspaces.
2. SURVEY:

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

A more statistics based survey to understand the habits and demands


of the users and the space requirements as well. Most of the questions
will aim at understanding habits and demographic information and a
few focused on getting an opinion regarding the kind of workspaces
and the environment needed.
3. CASE STUDIES:
Over the course of concept and design development to compare the
work with the real life examples, case studies will be considered and
recorded.
4. OBSERVATION:
Personal observation during the research becomes the driving factor
and contributes to a large part of the results, the site study and the
programs to be incorporated will be highly affected by that.
As established by the literature review,

It is aimed that the project develops a thorough and appropriate


program other than working spaces.

Identification of kind of people who will be using the place. ( students fresh graduates- professionals looking for collaborative workspace ),

identification of the other functional spaces to make up the successful


program

division of functions into categories to develop hierarchy and


relationship between spaces.

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

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FRAME WORK
The methods of research pretty much include everything that will be done in
order to reach the aim of the research, but utilizing those findings is another
thing. The continuous check on different aspects of design is a must,
therefore the research is being categorized and structured in a way that the
findings and conclusions help in the decisions regarding Concept, Program
and Context.
1. The research based on context is more inclined towards observation
and the study of the city and statistics to understand the behavior of
the site and context. Understanding the tangibles and intangible
related to the site.
2. The research based on concept will be somewhat evolving till the
finalization of the programs, the concept is the base on which the
whole design will be built, in this case it is the understanding of what
needs to be done to improve co working spaces.
3. The programs will be finalized after the thorough understanding of the
concept and site, the major program of working space is finalized, but
the byproducts and additional programs will be dictated by the site.

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

SITE SELECTION
The criteria for the selection of ideal site are:

has developed connections with the city

that has a reciprocal relation with the possibilities and variations

location along the fringe of the city, due to the nature of program, the
site should be in an importance place but not located in the heart of
city is preferred

A site that is big enough to cater to all functions of the program,

topography, geometry and characteristics that exhibit a connection to


the concept of formal and informal amalgamation, a place which

has potential points of entry that can be explored and developed

the nature of privacy required ( semi-private ) also taken into account

should be near a community that readily accepts the program to be


incorporated since that will be the most important factor in its success.

well developed infrastructure and amenities.

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

RATIONALE
The above mentioned criteria requires the site to be in a well developed
area, that provides the program with a chance to be successful in terms of
acceptance

by

community

and

properly

developed

infrastructure,

considering all these aspects, the most suitable site location is Bahria Town,
Islamabad. The reason behind the selection of Bahria ,

it falls under all the required space data

the community has been accepting new programs readily,

the catchment area of Bahria is more, people in Islamabad tend to


accept programs in Bahria more than any other place

the most important factor is the financial aspect, the whole idea behind
the co working space was being economical, sadly the financial gap
between Islamabad and Rawalpindi is evident and Bahria being on the
fringes on Islamabad will catch more people which the proposed
building will benefit.

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RUA-126809 | Thesis Report

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Benedict, Michael. For an Architecture of Reality. Lumen, 2006.

Brien, Paul O'. "Evolve the Way you Work." n.d. Project Your Space. 15 October 2014.

Marshall, Fraser A. and Justin M Witman. Humantics: The science and design of
sustainable collaboration. 2010.

Thwaits, Kevin. Socially Restorative Urbanism. 2009.

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