In 1994 the average North American office worker had 90 square feet (8.3613 square meters) of space. By 2010 this was 75 square feet (6.9677). http://econ.st/1wq0nkZ
Inside the box
IN THE 1960s Robert Propst, an inventor and artist who had patents in heart valves, livestock-tagging machines and aeroplane parts, was asked by Herman Miller, an...
Robert Propst (inventor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Robert (Bob) Propst (1921 - 2000) was the inventor of the Action Office that evolved into the cubicle office furniture system.
Robert Propst was from Colorado and worked for Herman Miller (Research) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was hired in 1958 by Herman Miller Inc. president Hugh DePree to "find problems outside of the furniture industry and to conceive solutions for them."
Propst's work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Henry Ford Museum.
"Father of the Cubicle" is a misnomer. When Propst designed the Action Office system, so-called "cubicle farms" were not his intent. Propst's own research into developing the action office philosophically was against the cubicle in many ways. The Action Office system was designed to promote productivity, privacy, and health (they attempted to increase blood flow) at the expense of some inefficient use of space. Cubicles are now typically designed to maximize efficient use of space.
The efficient "cubicle" became popular in office design because of the movable wall seen in the Action Office II (AO2) system, which initially saved money in construction and development costs. After their introduction into the marketplace, the Action Office II and other office systems were modified to pack in as many employees as possible into an office space. This vision was contrary to Propst's intentions, and he stated that "The cubiclizing of people in modern corporations is monolithic insanity."
Propst's 120 inventions include:
- a vertical timber harvester
- a quality control system for concrete
- an electronic tagging system for livestock
- a mobile office for a quadriplegic
- modular systems for use in hospitals
In 1953, he formed Propst Co. in Denver, Colorado to commercialize his inventions.