Accepted Paper:

Infrastructures of the office: the socio-technical construction of workspace.  


Noel Cass (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

Office infrastructures interlock flow and storage networks (of data, electricity, gas, hot/cold water and air) that facilitate the smooth use of devices and appliances in spaces optimised for work. The paper explores the changing socio-technical construction of the normal, quality office in the UK.

Paper long abstract:

The office is a place where a number of infrastructures come together, hopefully seamlessly, to produce an environment for work. The structure of the building and rooms, the hidden flows of electricity, gas, heated and chilled water and air, and data, the storage of heat, coolth, and information, are infrastructures whose presence is taken for granted and written out of consciousness in the social construction of the office as a smooth and desirable space for working. This paper reports on research into office building design that revealed how certain levels of energy demand in particular are embedded into normal office occupation and use, are related to the interlocking and ratcheting up of norms and expectations of quality, comfort and convenience, and how incumbent regimes of infrastructural provision might be unsettled by the changing nature of the requirements and understandings of 'the quality office' and office work.

Panel T006
Infrastructures in practice and in flux