Architecture Program


Date of this Version

Winter 12-1-2011


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Architecture, Under the Supervision of Professor Betsy S. Gabb. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2011

Copyright 2011 Stephanie J. Fanger


The office workplace within the United States has undergone monumental changes in the past century. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cited that Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors. As human beings can often spend a majority of the hours in the day at their workplace, more so than their home, it is important to understand the effects of the built environment on the American office employee. In order to stay current with modern times, General Dynamics, a corporation located in Scottsdale, Arizona implemented a renovation of interior space. This thesis examines the transformation from a close office layout to an open style floor plan environment. As the closed style workplace has been in existence since the 1980’s, the change will be a major transformation which will take the employees a while to adjust to. The closed style workplace was characterized by high panel cubicles, displacing employees based upon their rank within the company’s hierarchy. The open style layout places employees into the same low panel work station, despite their position within General Dynamics. Questionnaires were distributed before and after the move into the open style workplace, leveraging the satisfaction amongst the buildings occupants.

The following components were the focus of the study, assessing which work environment was more beneficial for the corporate employee: assigned workstation and other associated office furniture; access to the outdoors; workplace amenities; organizational hierarchy of rank; ambient temperature and lighting control; privacy; personalization; communication and collaboration spaces; and technology. The findings from both workplace styles were reported to General Dynamics AIS management, as well as creation of a future design prototype which blends favored attributes together.

Advisor: Betsy Gabb