It Probably Won A Prize

Architect Sam Sloan coordinated a project in which employees … were able to select their own office furniture and plan office layout … Since both the Seattle and Los Angeles branches of the FAA were scheduled to move into new buildings at about the same time, the client for the project, the General Services Administration, agreed with architect Sloan’s proposal to involve employees in the design process in Seattle, while leaving the Los Angeles office as a control condition where traditional methods of space planning would be followed.

Several months following the move into the new buildings, surveys by the research team were made in Los Angeles and Seattle. The Seattle workers were more satisfied with their building and work areas than were the Los Angeles employees… [T]he Los Angeles building has been given repeated awards by the American Institute of Architects while the Seattle building received no recognition. One member of the AIA jury justified his denial of an award to the Seattle building on the basis of its ‘residential quality’ and ‘lack of discipline and control of the interiors,’ which was what the employees liked most about it. … Employees in both locations rated their satisfaction with their job performance before and after the move into the new building. There was no change in the Los Angeles office and a 7 percent improvement in rated job performance in the Seattle office.

—from The Design of Everyday Things

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