|Publication number||US20050016081 A1|
|Application number||US 10/853,365|
|Publication date||Jan 27, 2005|
|Filing date||May 25, 2004|
|Priority date||May 30, 2003|
|Publication number||10853365, 853365, US 2005/0016081 A1, US 2005/016081 A1, US 20050016081 A1, US 20050016081A1, US 2005016081 A1, US 2005016081A1, US-A1-20050016081, US-A1-2005016081, US2005/0016081A1, US2005/016081A1, US20050016081 A1, US20050016081A1, US2005016081 A1, US2005016081A1|
|Inventors||Jean Gomree, Robert Beck, Robert Oren, Jeffrey Weber|
|Original Assignee||Gomree Jean Francois, Beck Robert L., Robert Oren, Weber Jeffrey A.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (23), Referenced by (7), Classifications (10)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present patent document claims the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of Provisional U.S. Patent Application Ser. No. 60/475,133, entitled “Workspace Habitat” filed May 30, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
1. Technical Field
The present invention relates to workspace modules, and more particularly to a workspace habitat.
2. Background Information
Most large offices with open floor plans have a system of providing individual work spaces in which the floor plan is divided into various work areas through a series of vertical partitions extending from the floor or ceiling. These partitions are sometimes moveable and changeable in order to provide the floor plan with a variety of configurations, thus creating a plurality of workspace habitats or offices. The ability to change the shape or size of each of these workspace habitats allows the various needs of individual employees to be met.
These prior art partitions create a semi-permanent floor plan that may not be as conducive to both individual activity and group activity without sacrifices. In order to create an atmosphere conducive to group interaction, the workspace habitats are more open, thus not providing as much private working space.
Today's business environment often requires both a group atmosphere where multiple team members can gather to discuss an entire project, then the individuals can go back to their workspace in order to work on a small part of the overall project. Thus, it is important to have a floor plan that suits both requirements: privatized individual workspaces as well as open general meeting areas. While conference rooms allow such open meeting areas, they do not provide private work environments for each individual, and individual offices with closable doors are not accommodating to large group meetings.
The workspace environments generally are not enclosable so as to provide a quiet work atmosphere. Instead, the vertical partitions often do not extend the entire distance between the floor and ceiling, thereby allowing noise to freely enter the workspace which can create a variety of distractions to the employee.
The workspace habitat includes a first wall wherein the wall has an opening. A door is attached to the first wall portion and has an open and a closed position. When the door is in an open position, the opening of the first wall is not closed, and when the door is in a closed position, at least a portion of the opening is closed. More than one door can be attached to the first wall.
A community of workspace habitats can be created by arranging a plurality of workspace habitats in a variety of configurations. The community of workspace habitats provides individual workspaces and also allows for an opened environment in which the users can interact directly with each other.
Advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to those skilled in the art from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the invention which have been shown and described by way of illustration. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its details are capable of modification in various respects. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature and not as restrictive.
The preferred embodiment of the workspace habitat 10 of the present invention provides the user with a fully enclosed, highly privatized, individual work environment that is transformable into an open workspace that allows for group interaction. A plurality of workspace habitats 10 can be attached in various formations in order to form a community of individual working environments. Each workspace habitat 10 includes a first wall portion 11 with an opening for ingress and egress and at least one door 40 movable between and open position and a closed position. The workspace habitat provides the user with a personalized area within the entire working environment or building. Each user can add or arrange a variety of objects within the workspace habitat to differentiate theirs from all others. The workspace habitat is generally where the worker performs the day-to-day tasks and it is separate and apart from the surroundings.
As shown in
The preferred embodiment of the workspace habitat 10, as shown in
Preferably, the structural support member 20 includes a pair of vertically oriented support posts 21, 22 and a horizontally oriented support beam 23 in which both support posts 21, 22 and the support beam 23 are made of hollow steel tube stock with a rectangular cross-section. The cross-section of the hollow tube stock is about 2 inches by 3 and has a wall thickness of about ¼ inch. The hollow tube stock results in less weight for the overall structure, thereby increasing the ability to readily move the entire workspace habitat 10. Each support post 21, 22 is attached to an opposing distal ends of the support beam 23 at a right angle by a weld. It should be understood that the support posts 21, 22 can also be attached to the support beam 23 an adhesive, bolts, or any other means sufficient to withstand the various loads applied to the structural support member 20. The structural support member 20 is about 81 inches tall by about 79½inches wide. In general, hollow cross section of the structural support member 20 defines a conduit through which necessaries for the business environment can be run, including wiring for phone, data, voice, and power. The workspace habitat 10 is preferably pre-wired for these necessaries.
In an alternative embodiment, each support post can include a pair of spaced apart vertical hollow frame members connected at each distal end by a horizontal hollow frame member. The support beam includes two spaced apart horizontal frame members in which the distal ends of each horizontal frame member is attached to the upper horizontal frame member of each support post. The vertical and horizontal hollow frame members of the structural support member define open spaces between the spaced apart frame members in which at least one panel can reside. The hollow frame members are configured to be a conduit for wiring business environment necessaries throughout the workspace habitat.
The lower distal end of each support post 21, 22 is preferably supported on the floor with casters that are lockable. The casters, or rollers, can be attached to the lower distal end of each support post 21, 22, thereby providing a more mobile workspace habitat 10, as shown in
A frame section, as shown in
The base member 31 preferably defines a half circle and is oriented to be parallel to the floor, as shown in
Two vertical frame members 32, 33 are preferably attached to the top surface of the base member 31 and extend upwardly therefrom, as shown in
A sloped frame member 38 is attached to the upper distal end of each vertical frame member 32, 33 and to the upper distal end of each support post 21, 22, as shown in
The sloped frame member 38 is further secured to the support beam 23 by two ceiling frame members 36, 37, as shown in
The base member 31, the vertical frame members 32, 33 and the sloped frame member 38 define a frame to which a vertical panel 39 is attached to form the outer surface to the first wall portion 11. Additionally, the ceiling defined by the sloped frame member 38 is divided into three sections in the shape of wedges. In an alternative embodiment, a light-transmitting ceiling panel can be placed within each of the openings defined by the ceiling frame members. As can be seen, the covering panels are made from a transparent material, such as Plexiglas®. However, as discussed below, other materials may be used.
Preferably, an outlet panel 55 is disposed within the centrally located open area defined between the base member 31, the sloped frame member 38, and the two vertical frame members 32, as shown in
At least one door 40 is preferably adapted to hingedly enclose the workspace habitat 10. As shown in
The vertical frame members 41 of a door 40 are spaced apart, as shown in
Three horizontally oriented arms 43 preferably connect the upper distal ends of the frame members 41, 42 of a door 40 to the support beam 23 of the structural support member 20, as shown in
A disc 48, as shown in
At least one caster 52, or roller, is connected to the downwardly facing edge of the lower horizontal frame member 42 of the door, as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, the door can be housed within the first wall portion when in an open position, as shown in
Each door 40 preferably includes a handle 48 attached to a vertical frame member 41 in order to allow the user to manually move the door 40 between the open and closed positions from within the workspace habitat 10, as shown in
Each door 40 is lockable from both the inside and outside when in a closed position. The ability to lock the workspace habitat 10 while the user is on the inside allows the user the ultimate sense of security while working and decreases the amount of possible distractions. The lock also allows the user to secure personal belongings or confidential work within the workspace habitat 10 while away.
It is not necessary that the door 40 be completely moved to the open or closed position. Instead, the user can move the door 40 to any position, thereby closing only a portion of the opening in the first wall portion 11, as shown in
The door 40 preferably moves about the outer surface of the first wall portion 11 by sliding along the ground on casters or rollers 52 attached to the lower horizontal frame member 42. The rollers 52 are adapted to assist the movement of the door 40 by supporting the weight of the door as the door is moved between the open and closed positions.
A small gap is formed between the door 40 and the outer surface of the first wall portion 11, thereby allowing the door 40 to rotate without contacting the first wall portion 11. The gap between the door 40 and the first wall portion 11 can be filled by a piece of rubber such that the rubber pieces also act as a buffer to prevent the metal frame members of the door 40 from rubbing against the metal skeleton of the first wall portion 11. The rubber piece can also act to create a seal between the vertical frame members 41 of the door 40 and the first wall portion 11.
Additionally, rubber can be attached to the exposed edge of the support beam 23 such that when the door is in a fully closed position, the entire workspace habitat 10 is sealed, save a small gap between the floor and the downwardly facing surfaces of the door 40 and first wall portion 11. The gap is produced by the casters, rollers, or leveling mechanisms attached to the bottom edge of the first wall portion 11 and the doors 40. When the workspace habitat 10 is sealed, a fan can be configured to either force fresh air into, or stale air out of, the fully enclosed environment such that the gap assists in the air transfer. When more than two doors 40 are attached to the first wall portion 11, each door can be configured to include a rubber seal or lightseal on the edge of the vertical frame member adjacent the opposing door in a fully closed position to create a complete seal between the doors 40 and the first wall portion 11.
In the preferred embodiment, each door 40 is has a horizontal cross section generally in the shape of a quarter of a circle, as shown in
Vertical panels can be incorporated within each of the open areas between the frame members of the first wall portion 11 and also between the frame members of the doors. These vertical panels provide separation between the user and the environment external to the workspace habitat 10. The vertical panels can all be made of the same material, or each one made of a material with a pre-defined characteristic dependent upon the location at which it is incorporated. Not every defined open area needs to contain a vertical panel. The preferred embodiment of the first wall portion 11 and doors 40, the vertical panels 49 act as a skin or partition between the inside and outside of the workspace habitat 10. The vertical panels are attached to the outer surfaces of the frame members of the doors and first wall portion. In the alternative, a single panel can be disposed within each of the defined open areas of the workspace habitat, and each panel can be made of plastic. It should be understood that other materials can be used for the panels including glass, Plexiglas®, metal, a clear material, an opaque material, and soundproofing material. Additionally, a whiteboard, a tackboard, video display or any other object sufficient to provide a barrier between the user and the external environment can also be used. For example, a vertical panel within the frame section of the first wall portion 11 can include a monitor for incorporating a video display, and surrounded by a curved opaque sheet of plastic. It should also be understood that the vertical panels are not required to fill an entire open area. For example, a vertical panel may be disposed within the vertical open area in a door and only extend halfway up from the lower horizontal frame member. The upper half of the defined open area therefore remains open.
The vertical panels or partitions can have a predetermined level of seclusion between the inner workspace and the exterior environment, or an adjustable level determined by the user. For example, an adjustable partition includes an extendable or rotatable blind. The blind can be extended or rotated by manual, electronic, or automatic adjustment. An example of a blind is one in which slats are rotatable to allow various amounts of light to pass. Another type of blind that can be used includes a sheet of material that can extend or retract to vary the amount of light or privateness. An example of a predetermined level of seclusion includes a plastic panel with a visibility gradient, or an opaque material in which ambient light can pass through and yet prevents others from seeing into the workspace habitat 10.
The vertical panel 39 of the frame section is preferably plastic with a visibility gradient that is fully opaque at the portion of the vertical panel 39 nearest the base member 31 and becomes increasingly clear as the gradient approaches the sloped frame member 38 until it becomes completely clear. The visibility gradient is created by horizontal lines that are wide and close together near the bottom of the vertical panel 39 and become thinner and more spaced apart as the gradient extends vertically. The vertical panel 39 of the frame section has a curved planar shape defined by the arcuate shape of the base member 31 and sloped frame member 38, and disposed on the outer surfaces of the frame members of the first wall portion 11.
The light-transmitting ceiling panel 35 of the first wall portion 11 is also preferably made of clear plastic. The ceiling panel 35 is generally in the shape of a flat wedge with about a 180 degree arc, and is attached to the outwardly facing surfaces of the frame members of the ceiling portion of the first wall portion 11. The vertical panel 49 of door 40 is preferably made of plastic with the same visibility gradient as the vertical panel 39 of the first wall section 11.
The ceiling panel 51 of door 40 is flat and in the shape of wedges of a circle with an arc of about 90 degrees, as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, a plurality of panels can be disposed within a single defined open area between the frame members of either the first wall portion or a door. The number of panels disposed within each defined open areas can be dependent upon various workspace conditions desired by the user including, but not limited to, soundproofing, utility, aesthetic appearances, and a personalizable level of privacy or seclusion. For example, each defined open area between frame members in the workspace habitat 10 can have two spaced apart panels made of glass. Between the panels is a blind or curtain that can be adjusted between an open and a closed position in which the open position allows for full visibility into the workspace habitat 10 and the closed position allows for no visibility in or out of the workspace habitat 10. The blinds can be adjusted to different levels within the open area so as to increase or decrease the area of the panel through which a passer-by can see into the workspace habitat 10. This allows the user to control the level of seclusion between the working environment and the environment external to the workspace habitat 10. In the alternative, a blind itself can be disposed within the defined open space without the spaced apart panes of glass
In a further alternative embodiment, two spaced apart panels can be disposed within a defined open area wherein each panel is of a different material. For example, the vertical panel of a door can be a tackboard attached to the inwardly facing surface and an erasable whiteboard on the outwardly facing surface. This allows the user to be able to hang personal items on the inside of the door and also allows others to write messages to the user when the door, particularly when a door is in a closed position. Both panel members provide a utilitarian purpose for the user when the door is in a closed position
A variety of environmentally enhancing features can be attached at various locations to the first wall portion 11.
Additionally, an opening can be configured to house permanent light fixtures 66 for the workspace habitat 10. The light fixture resides in an opening and can be operated by the user by a switch connected to the lighting fixture or by a switch on a control panel within the workspace habitat 10. Alternatively, the opening can receive temporary lighting fixtures 67 that extend downwardly from the support beam, as shown in
Another alternative environmentally enhancing feature includes a sound system within the workspace habitat 10. The speakers of the system can be incorporated into an opening in the support beam. The sound system can be configured such that the user can listen to music when the workspace habitat 10 is fully enclosed such that the environment external to the workspace habitat 10 will not receive any sound from the sound system. Each workspace habitat 10 can be configured to have a resident sound system, or the sound system can be connected to each habitat such that each habitat receives a common signal. The sound system can be controlled by the user through a control panel 28 located within the workspace habitat 10.
The environmentally enhancing features, such as the ventilation system, lighting system, and the sound system, are preferably controlled on a single control panel 28, as shown in
The inwardly facing surfaces of the support posts 21, 22 and the vertical frame members 32, 33 of the first wall portion 11 preferably have an inwardly facing hanger frame attached thereto. A hanger frame includes a plurality of spaced apart slots running the entire height of the frame. The slots are adapted to receive and support various types of workspace furniture or components to be removably attached to the first wall portion 1. These components include worksurfaces, shelves, displays, storage bins, and other workspace furniture.
The preferred embodiment of the workspace habitat 10 includes a curved worksurface 63 mounted to the first wall portion 11, as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, the worksurface has an extendable portion at each end of the worksurface nearest the defined opening to the first wall portion 11, and located beneath the working surface. The extendable portions are curved in the same manner as the worksurface such that when the door is in a closed position, the extendable portions of the worksurface can create a workpiece that fully encloses the user within 360 degrees of workspace. Furthermore, the extendable worksurface portions can be slidably attached to a vertical frame member of the door such that as the door is rotated between an open and closed position, the extendable worksurface portions likewise follow by extending or retracting as the door is rotated.
The vertical slots located in the hanger frame mounted along the height of the support posts 21, 22 and the vertical divider members 32, 33 are also adapted to receive a shelf 64, storage bin, or display 65, as shown in
The workspace habitat 10 can also include a footrest 70 shaped to have an abutting relationship with the inner surface of the first wall portion 11, as shown in
The ceiling portions of the workspace habitat 10 are preferably connected to the respective structures through a fuseable link. That is, the ceiling portions attach to the structures such that excessive heat, likely due to fire, releases the ceiling portions, thereby providing openings along the top of the workspace habitat 10 in which water from sprinklers or a hose can enter the workspace environment. The sealant disposed between the frame structure and the ceiling portion can be heat sensitive, or the mechanical attachment can be configured to release the ceiling portions in case of a fire.
As shown in
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A plurality of workspace habitats 10 can be arranged in a variety of configurations to form a community of individual working environments, as shown in
As shown in
The preferred embodiment, as shown in
While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described, it should be understood that the invention is not so limited and modifications may be made without departing from the invention. The scope of the invention is defined by the appended claims, and all devices that come within the meaning of the claims, either literally or by equivalence, are intended to be embraced therein.
It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to define the spirit and scope of this invention.
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|International Classification||E04H1/12, A47B13/04, E04B1/82|
|Cooperative Classification||A47B13/04, E04H1/125, E04B1/8218|
|European Classification||E04H1/12C, E04B1/82D, A47B13/04|