The following project is a derivative of the research project Terminal Labor.
“Once it had been discovered that labor was the source of wealth, it was the task of reason to mine, drain and exploit that source more efficiently than ever before.”
As the entrepreneur in each person is exposed in the developing class of freelance workers, a physical workspace must be envisioned to exploit their unique qualities. Coworking is a modern attempt to address this situation. Perks of established companies are offered at a daily desk rate by combining the coffee shop with the empty office. Creative class users are enticed to join these communities under the allure of increased interaction as a means to secure future employment. This model is flawed. Its users are too mobile to builds the stable communities it advertise. It attempts to capitalize on the working life of the 24/7 creative workers by functioning as an outdated 9-5 physical environment. The only way for it to succeed is to include the living aspect. Life must take over labor.
Positioned with the increasing importance of labor as a social interaction, is a new form of mobility. The gateway to the modern city is the airport. It is the connection between localized commerce and globalization. The airport has become a common mediator between living spaces and working spaces. They also include the same qualities already associated with the life of the creative worker, placenessness and future hope. Where you are today, is not where you will be tomorrow, but only through labor. I therefor propose the airport as the location for a new place of labor, located as an additional terminal to be attached to the system.
This new terminal, the Labor Terminal, will be attached to global airport hubs in major cities throughout the world. Combined, these new terminals will create a globalized community of creative class workers. Cities such as Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago (ORG), Amsterdam (AMS), and Tokyo (NRT) will each become part of the new network. For this particular investigation, we will be looking Newark Airport (EWR) as a test bed for the system. Newark is the perfect prototype for the system, as the city is a non-destination place and is the most extreme example of a terminal city. While the airport is one of the largest in the world, those using it are typically commuting to New York City or using the airport to transfer to another destination.
The new terminal will be a place of working and living. Housing is supplied as a byproduct of the working condition and to keep privacy as close as possible to the act of labor. Privacy is now reduced to sleeping and bathing in a 12 square meter apartment. Space is limitedly defined to strategically discourage insular loitering. All other aspects of life must be part of the social network to allow and encourage interaction and corruption.
Four of these units are clustered together around a kitchen and eating space to encourage the social within everyday consumption. These Living Clusters continue in a linear fashion through the length of the new terminal on floors above and below the floor of labor production, connected through single circular stairs.
The floor of labor production combines forty living units together in eighty meter working clusters. These laborers come together as collaborators on specific projects in that city for an undetermined period of time. The open plan capitalizes on labor as social relationships. The central axis is used as a walkway between spaces and contains a continuation of breakout spaces. Places to sit and relax are quickly capitalized on as impromptu meeting spaces for production. Partitions divide the sides into smaller zones for work. Work being defined as meeting rooms, a soft lounge, a bar, and a few workstations. It is vital that users do not act alone in their production. Their place of labor must be that of an approachable atmosphere to encourage interaction with others. The end of each working cluster includes a triple-height auditorium space for hosting workshops and lectures both internally and externally.
The translucent facade allows optimal lighting for working conditions while disallowing the distractions or empathy for the external environment.
The Labor Terminal is connected to the airport network via a typical tram network. Users travel directly from the existing airport terminals to their gate in the new one.
Upon exiting the tram, users are instantly immersed into an infinite corridor of duty free kiosks, coffee shops and meeting rooms. The language of space and circulation is the same as the airport itself; continuous and monotonous. Users check in at the gate of their working unit and take an elevator or the stairs one level above to the working unit.
To juxtapose the worker’s condition of external disjunction, a linear park frames the terminal as it cuts through the city. This acts as the mediator and threshold between the users inside and those outside. It provides users of the terminal with direct opportunities for sport and possibilities of the only interaction with users local to the project itself. The park is laid out informally to contrast the rigorous structure above. Its programming is as precarious as the workers attracted to the Terminal.
The new terminals will be directed from the airport to the central business districts of each city in a single linear complex. It will be built in eighty meter increments one working cluster at a time and grow or shrink as demand indicates. As it grows and connects to the central business district, the linear aspect of the complex will give it physical presence and adjacency to as much of the city as possible. Instead of being an insular item, it is as unavoidable an infrastructural element as the freeway.
The Terminal is infrastructure. It is raised 14 meters into the air to bypass infrastructural elements already existing in the city. This allows existing automotive, pedestrian and mass transit networks to permeate without obstructing the complex’s ability to internally operate.