The Adaptive Architectural Layout: How the Control of a Semi-Autonomous Mobile Robotic Partition was Shared to Mediate the Environmental Demands and Resources of an Open-Plan Office


A typical open-plan office layout is unable to optimally host multiple collocated work activities, personal needs, and situational events, as its space exerts a range of environmental demands on workers in terms of maintaining their acoustic, visual or privacy comfort. As we hypothesise that these demands could be coped by optimising the environmental resources of the architectural layout, we deployed a mobile robotic partition that autonomously manoeuvres between predetermined locations. During a five-weeks in-the-wild study within a real-world open-plan office, we studied how 13 workers adopted four distinct adaptation strategies when sharing the spatiotemporal control of the robotic partition. Based on their logged and self-reported reasoning, we present six initiation regulating factors that determine the appropriateness of each adaptation strategy. This study thus contributes to how future human-building interaction could autonomously improve the experience, comfort, performance, and even the health and wellbeing of multiple workers that share the same workplace.