The Incorporation of Dissent, Bürolandschaft and its Contemporary Legacy
When in 1960 the “Buch und Ton” open space office, set as a temporary test space for the Bertelsmann mail-order business, opened on the top floor of a warehouse on the Bertelsmann campus in Gütersloh (Germany), nobody would predict its unprecedented world-wide success. Its very design soon became a blueprint for post-war office design and administrative organizations, widely known as Bürolandschaft [office-landscape].
Currently we witness a revival of contemporary interpretations and variations of office-landscaping: Be it SANAA’s literal landscape for the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, be it Frank Gehry’s Facebook open plan office in Paolo Alto/ California, as well as OMA’s Springer Campus design in Berlin, or the forthcoming JOHNSTONMARKLEE Dropbox headquarters in San Francisco, to name just a few, most prominent examples.
This new wave of Bürolandschaft-like projects makes it worth revisiting the initial concept of Bürolandschaft: what was its aim and its ambition right after the Second World War?