The third space (or place), is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of the home and the workplace. In his influential book, The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third spaces are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
In an office, the third space can be defined as the place between the workstations or offices and formal meeting rooms. The third space is used for more casual work or meetings. The environment is more collaborative and less formal. Furniture resembles a hotel lobby or cafe. Expanded kitchens and break rooms can serve as the third space in the office environment.
Gen Y grew up studying in coffee shops and cafes instead of at libraries or desks. As a result, some Gen Y prefer to work in more informal settings that resemble coffee shops. They also prefer to collaborate on couches rather than around a formal meeting table. Gen Y grew up not tethered to the personal computer, Gen Y grew up not tethered to the personal desktop computer. They can now work away from their desks using laptops. They can exercise their freedom even more by using their tablets and smartphones as well. The third space allows for a change of pace and a change of scenery.
In this 8,100 square foot office suite renovation at 2644 30th Street in Santa Monica, adjacent to the Santa Monica Business Park, PMI has configured the spec suite with the third space in mind.
The most common “third space” is the kitchen area. Because of this, PMI aims to build large and inviting kitchen break areas that resemble cafes. PMI integrates an adjacent area with similar flooring and lighting that can expand that kitchen into a casual work area, or another third space. Tech companies tend to put these third spaces in the most desirable part of the office space.
In this case, the area near the outdoor patio would make an excellent additional casual work area. With the great weather in Los Angeles, outdoor spaces also make great third space. In a survey of ten creative office brokers in Los Angeles, 80% of them felt that outdoor space, if available, should be pre-built into the infrastructure of the space. Growing companies also use third spaces as potential areas to temporarily expand formal work areas as the company scales.
Here are some examples of third spaces that PMI features in their suites:
To read more about third spaces, click here.