Arch 484/584, Prof. Nancy Cheng's Design Studio at Univ. of Oregon, Dept. of Architecture <H1></H1>

Center for Telecommuting

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Design Projects


With 50 million Americans now working at home either part-time or full-time *, telecommuting is racing in popularity. People are discovering higher productivity and greater quality of life by using telecommunications rather than cars to connect with their offices. Starting from Europe (Korte) , governments around the world are starting to encourage this pattern as a way to decrease traffic and pollution while increasing worker satisfaction. As corporations see mobile workers as a solution to rising real-estate prices, they need assistance in rethinking traditional space ownership patterns. As the rhythm of people's worklives change, the traditional office will be replaced by new arenas for social interaction.

From interior designers to architects and urban planners, designers at all scales need to address how this shift in work patterns could alter our environment. Urban vitality may be threatened by the dilution of density unless new types of magnets emerge. In contrast, rural and scenic areas may experience new economic viability with the promise of new televillages. One emerging building type is the neighborhood telework center; a place which workers can skip the long commute to the head office, yet find space, equipment and sociability which might be lacking at home.

For this design project, the Whiteaker Telecenter will act as both a prototype neighborhood telework center and as a city-wide telecommunications resource center. For people already on a flexible schedule, the neighborhood center offers part-time or full-time access to workspaces and conference rooms complete with phone, fax, copy, high-speed data links and support staff. Project materials and personal belongings can be stored at the center. For those curious about the Internet and telecommunications, the center will provide exhibits, instruction and assisted self-access to online resources.

This program imagines a scenario of a public/private partnership, in which the City of Eugene subsidizes a lease of public land and a high-technology consortium sponsors the center in order to promote their products. Room for expansion should be planned with the original design.

Program Areas (sf)



New Equipment Display/Demo area (secure after hours) 1 1000 1000

Electronic Classroom (w/ video projection, workstations) 2 800 1600

Lecture room (w/ projection, stage) 1 1200 1200

Educational Offices 3 150 450



Area for individual work (hot desks w/ enhanced online resources) 1 2000 2000 can break down

Special peripheral room (copiers, printers, scanners) 1 300 300

Video-conference room 1 400 400

Small conference room 3 200 600

New media connections w/ IO devices such as VR 1 400 400

Reference Help Area 1 300 300



Meeting place/cybercafe 1 1500 1500

Cybercafe Kitchen 1 500 500

Exercise / recreation area : can be exterior


Garden, Nature viewing areas



Building Reception/Waiting area 1 200 200

Director's Office 1 200 200

Tech Support Offices 4 150 600

Staff room 1 200 200



Entrance Vestibule 1 100 100

Restrooms 2 300 600

Locker Area 2 300 600

Storage 1 500 500

Locker Area 2 300 600

Janitor's Closet (1 per floor) 1 60 60

Main Mechanical room 1 400 400

Electrical room 1 60 60

Mechanical/elect room 1 per upper floor 1 80 80


net to gross ratio




Covered Bicycle Parking 1 500 500

Car Parking for 20 cars


For this prototype, a site in Eugene, Oregon's Whiteaker area along the Willamette River has been chosen. It sits in between the Outdoor Program's River House and the Owens Rose Garden, just north of the 4J School Districts' Administration Building. The site has major exposure to bicycle commuters on the riverside paths and has car access from Madison Street and Sycamore Street. It is centrally located in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area, just north of central downtown Eugene.

The Whiteaker neighborhood is characterized by heterogeneity. It has a mix of residential, public, commercial and industrial land use types. Its residents come from a range of economic backgrounds, and properties reflect different levels of maintenance. While generally medium density single family residences predominate, some low-rise high density rental areas are near the site. Most structures in the area are one and two story with the exception of a grain processing plant with tall silos.

As the site is publically owned parkland, the building should be sited to maintain the natural beauty of the area while providing the center with adequate presence. The site design should changes for vehicular access and landscape amendments. Additional information can be found in the Whiteaker Development Plan.

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edited 23 Sept 1996 by nywcheng