Architecture by the beach: First we got small homes. Are small offices next?

Architecture firm Studio106 relocates to a caravan by a beach to put small office working to the test.

When architecture firm Studio106’s lease came up for renewal on its Ponsonby Road offices, the team decided to reconsider how much space six-or-so people needed.

Putting their small-space theories to a practical test, the team decided to ditch the whole traditional office model and lease a caravan, set it up as a temporary office (complete with outdoor area), and park it up by a beach for ten days this month.

It just so happens that the beach they’re parking it up by, Okahu Bay, is the site of one of their current projects, helping transform the Royal Akarana Yacht Club into a marine sports centre.

As only four people can work in the 9m2 caravan at any one time, the firm intends to retain a smaller ‘mother ship’ and swap key staff with the caravan as necessary. Principal of Studio106, architect Dion Gosling says the experiment is a testing ground of what the firm actually need in an office, what we could do without, including exploring the concept of a paperless architecture office.

Gosling says having a mobile office allows the firm to relocate temporarily to a client’s site, be fully immersed in the landscape throughout the design phase, and to be more hands on with contractors and trades during the construction process. Also, by parking in semi-public areas, the firm is hoping for greater interaction with passers-by and, perhaps, even meeting some prospective clients.

And, of course, Going Mobile will give the Studio106 team the opportunity to extend that summer feeling a little longer than the rest of us office-bound drones. Says Gosling: “With the glittering Hauraki Gulf beckoning for a lunchtime dip, when business colleagues asked us why we were doing it, we responded: ‘why not?’”