Action Office, or, Another Kind of ‘Architecture Without Architects’
When Robert Propst set out to transform the white-collar office, he began with a research protocol: observe, notate, quantify, represent. This process, based equally on the production of data and the use of representation to turn that data into information, led to Action Office, a system that aimed to transform every action and surface of the office environment into a data-rich cybernetic loop. For Propst, the key to turning the office into a space that produced information, rather than merely managed it, was display; as he wrote, ‘Action Office 2 provides no place for paper to hide or die – all paper material is displayed. You can see it, it is all signalled or marked and it will feed back a strong purge signal when it becomes overabundant.’ Propst’s Action Office system mobilised display to produce an information environment that cuts out noisy signals to frame clear communication.
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