Markets, standards and building design: the case of low energy design in commercial offices

Authors: James Faulconbridge*, Lancaster University, Noel Cass, Lancaster University, John Connaughton, Reading University
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Markets, standards, offices, building design
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom B, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines the role of standards in the market for commercial offices. We focus on market standards, which we define as are agreed upon definitions of ‘necessary’ provision in buildings that are fundamental in ‘formatting’ markets and determining the value of a building in the market. The paper presents a case study of the design of ten commercial offices in London, UK, the effects of market standards on the designs and on the potential for the development of lower energy buildings. Theoretically, the paper integrates literatures on standards, institutions and markets to argue that market standards do important ‘work’ in design processes that requires closer scrutiny. In particular, we show that market standards: are an important form of normative and cultural regulation in the field of commercial office design; format and act as calculative devices in property markets; and result in forms of knowledge diminution that break the relationship between building design and occupiers’ practices. Together, these effects result in particular designs being legitimised and valued, and lower energy designs being delegitimised, devalued and pushed to the periphery of the attention of commercial office designers.

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