in a year where many our daily habits and environments have changed dramatically, where we work has never felt so important. here’s a look at some of the diverse ways and places where people worked this year, offering a glimpse at the future of the office. from a cabin that measures less than 50 square meters, to an office for one of the world’s biggest media companies, we continue our annual round up of the year’s BIG stories with a look at the TOP 10 workplaces and offices featured on designboom in 2020.




1 – studio velocity’s own office in okazaki, japan

TOP 10 workplaces
image courtesy of studio velocity



studio velocity has topped its own office in japan’s aichi prefecture with a large, curved, inhabitable roof. the building itself comprises two levels: workspace areas punctuated by small exterior terraces on the ground floor; and a small communal kitchen and dining area on the upper storey, which opens up toward the rooftop. here, trees protrude above the roof, allowing nature to permeate the entire building.


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2 – olson kundig’s cabin is the ultimate work from home office

TOP 10 workplaces
images by tim bies / olson kundig



with people around the world continuing to work from home, many of us are looking for ways to make remote working suitable for both professional and personal living. providing inspiration, this project by olson kundig is a 500 square foot (46 sqm) cabin on san juan island in the US state of washington that serves as both a writer’s retreat and guest cottage. the owners asked for a secure space that simultaneously felt connected to its island setting — the mild climate, scenic views, and proximity to wildlife.


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3 – OMA completes axel springer building in berlin

TOP 10 workplacesimage by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA



exactly four years after the start of construction, the new axel springer building in berlin officially opened in october. designed by OMA, the cube-shaped structure is the latest addition to the publishing company’s campus in the german capital. the building offers 52,000 square meters (559,723 sqf) of work space for more than 3,000 employees and is characterized by its open and transparent architecture. internally, the project is defined by a 45-meter (148 ft) high, light-filled atrium that divides the building into sections. in the valley between, ten terraced stories and 13 bridges seek to provide inspiration for ‘physical encounters in the digital age’.


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4 – snøhetta wraps timber office building in austria with a ‘green curtain’

TOP 10 workplacesimage © christian flatscher



in august, snøhetta completed a timber office building for ASI reisen, an international trekking and adventure travel company. located in natters, just south of innsbruck, austria, the four-story building is surrounded by a lush exterior. this ‘green curtain’ is made up of climbing plants that grow on a suspended metal frame, ensuring that the structure blends harmoniously into its verdant forest surroundings. composed of 17 different warm weather and evergreen species growing in big planters, this curtain also serves as a glare shield and for shading the generous glass surfaces.


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5 – arquitectura-G creates a light-filled work space in barcelona

TOP 10 workplaces
image by josé hevia



barcelona-based studio arquitectura-G transformed a derelict factory into a cultural and creative center entitled ‘acid house’. the project is programmed as a co-working space for entrepreneurship and business innovation. the building is composed of two aisles, the main aisle with a double pitched roof volume and the second with a double height ceiling space. the project is located in the barcelona’s poblenou neighborhood and houses a varied collection of businesses and projects.


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6 – hello wood’s ‘workstation cabin’ is a secluded, work-from-home module

TOP 10 workplacesimage by zsuzsa darab



inspired by the growing desire for a personal office space during a work-from-home era, hello wood presented its ‘workstation cabin’. this tiny, architecturally-minded home-office cabin is designed to fulfill the widespread desire for a secluded, private workspace without the need for a home expansion. while the playfully sculpted timber project introduces a space for work and meetings, its flexible program functions as a guest room or children’s playroom. the workstation cabin serves as a place for work that is tranquil, relaxing, and encourages solitude and creativity.


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7 – MIA constructs mirror-clad volume to house its office near liège

TOP 10 workplacesimage courtesy of MIA architecture



belgian firm MIA architecture designed its own office in beaufays, a municipality near liège. the project consists of a highly reflective volume that houses an architect’s office and a meeting room as well as and technical requirements. elevated on a base of painted bricks, which provides space for a parked car, the structure is embedded into the grounds of an existing house that was built in the 1970s.


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8 – brückner & brückner wraps office in a façade of spruce trunks

brückner architekten hohes holzimage © mju-fotografie, marie luisa jünger, hümpfershausen



brückner & brückner architekten realized the ‘hohes holz’ office and administration building for one of the largest sawmills in europe. the project seems to grow organically from the forested clearing — a play of light, shadow and wood. the team designed the building to suggest a continuation of the surrounding woodland, a celebration of the ziegler group’s neighboring betzenmühle sawmill. the structure is built nearly entirely from the wood sourced on-site, architecturalizing the products and philosophy of the company.


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9 – foster + partners organizes hankook’s HQ around expansive atrium

foster partners hankook headquartersimage © time of blue



in september, foster + partners completed the new headquarters of south korean tire company hankook. the project follows the ‘hankook technodome’ — the company’s integrated R&D center — which was also designed by foster + partners. the company’s new HQ takes the form of a ten-storey building where floorplates spiral around a central atrium. this results in visual connections across the different levels, encouraging staff interaction, while also letting natural light deep into the heart of the building.


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10 – büro ole scheeren reveals a flexible archetype for the future workplace

ole scheeren shenzhen waveimage © büro ole scheeren



looking toward the future, büro ole scheeren revealed plans for the ‘shenzhen wave’ in september, a building that will serve as the headquarters of one of china’s leading technology companies. the distinctive project, which is located at the entry to the shenzhen bay super HQ masterplan in southern china, has been conceived as a ‘living organism’ that promotes new ways of working and living together.


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see designboom’s TOP 10 stories archive: