Last updated: 1st September 2023
Fergus Egan (b. 1997) is currently studying at the Architectural Association in London, UK, having graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Architectural Design in 2018. His work has been exhibited in Brisbane, Perth, Newcastle and Melbourne in Australia as well as in George Town, Malaysia and Yangon, Myanmar.
Post-Brexit and post-pandemic, office leases in London have plummeted to a 20-year low in the fourth quarter of 2022. Despite weak market demand, building developments continue, and thus so does demolition.
To counter the use of vacancy as a pretext for demolition, we set up No End State, an agency within the built environment. Our mission is to prevent demolition resulting from building vacancy. Through advocacy and consultancy, we challenge the idea that the buildings we need must be built from scratch — instead, we strive to find new uses for existing structures.
Office buildings have always been a frontier for technological advancements, emerging models of social structure and labour rights, and the endless churning of the financial and real estate market. Flexibility, as opposed to stability, has been its slogan. Obsolescence, as opposed to endurance, has been the defining characteristic of the office typology.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the way we work, where we work and how much we work. Many employees and employers are asking themselves, “Do we really need to be together in an office to do our work?” As others questions the future of work, DIP18 examines the future of workplaces. Can demolition continue to be the default strategy for offices that become redundant, vacant or outdated? Or can we work with what we already have? Can we work with old office buildings to imagine new ways of working?
We ‘hacked’ a live office building that was in-limbo, going through a period of instability or at risk of demolition. Our interventions ranged in scale from policy-making to positioning ourselves as facilitators between public and private stakeholders, and from maintaining existing office buildings to designing a new market and system to reintegrate reclaimed materials from demolished buildings. We engaged with various actors — site contractors, landowners, developers, activist groups, real estate agents, civil servants, reclamation yards, scientists, engineers, as well as architects — to build our knowledge and gather support for our ambitions. We dare to dream of the office that will grow not taller or bigger, but older and wiser with us.