Katja Seifert

GardenWork diploma

Katja Seifert . Universität für Kunstlerische & Industrielle Gestaltung Architektur . Tutor(s): Prof. Arch. Roland Gnaiger

If you sit at your computer day in and day out, your gaze is rarely directed to the outside. Seasons change, the surroundings alter their appearance with them, but the screen does not let you go to enjoy the play of the perpetual changing of nature...

A spatial symbiosis of workplace and garden in the city
In the fast pace of life today and with the challenges of working life, the aim is to create a place of regeneration and balance: providing energy and motivation for the “everyday job”, but at the same time also maintaining a connection to the environment. The main focus is on interweaving different areas. The interplay of the most different working spaces, break areas, zones of communication, and places of gardening allow a building to emerge that seems permeated by green. The networked interior of the building is intended to be carried on – not only within the working area, but also into the surroundings, the neighborhood.
Especially the gardens, the gardeners, and ultimately also the harvest of what is growing within the complex become mediators between the building and the neighborhood.

Linking Workplace and Garden
For decades it has been possible to define quite amicably what is to be understood as an office, just as there was a standardized image of office structures. Yet this clear outline is increasingly dissolving, all the way to “your Office is where you are”, a non-territorial office.
The structures, however, that define a place of community, of entrepreneur culture, of encounter, of exchange, and of personal synergies, will still be needed in the future. Yet the further development of working processes, increasingly intelligent technologies, and the separation of production and service, make it possible to detach “office work” from time and space. New forms of working and spatial concepts are therefore required.
If we rely in the future on the ensemble of “work+ family + leisure + X“, then the question arises: What does the variable X stand for?

One answer to this can be a kitchen garden: the garden as a place of “losing oneself”, of “stepping outside of time” in contrast to a workspace, which is marked by time pressure, time management, and performance. Robert Harrison emphasizes that cultivating the ground (garden work) and cultivating the mind (work) are activities that are the same in essence, not just similar in essence. Giving more, which the ground demands, applies just as well to institutions like friendship and child-raising, in other words to human culture as a whole. This evokes a sense of satisfaction and well-being. The difference to the garden here is that the gardener is less concerned with work or productivity, but more with the well-being of what the gardener is nourishing in this garden so that it can live.
Even if the garden demands much of us, it is still a place of regeneration and of becoming grounded, whether through the path of nature or as a place of exchange with fellow human beings, as a link to the outside.
Many studies show that “green in the workplace” is soothing and enhances concentration. Just hanging a picture on the wall can reduce stress: So why not look right out into a big garden or enjoy a short break from work with “just out in the garden”?

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