Wednesday, February 6, 2013

VillaWitte #3--Office

The first room to discuss is down a couple of stairs, the first door on your right coming in through the main entrance. For lack of a better term, I'll call it the Office, but this room has evolved so far from what it once was that I find it difficult to find a single word that describes it properly.

As I originally conceived this space, it was to be a Front Parlor and Study on the ground floor. Towards the center of it, a DJ Booth with turntables and mixer could be opened with shutters onto the Living Room to entertain parties, along with a doorway. At the far end of the room, a second, more private staircase would take you up through two-story library stacks for records, CDs, DVDs, and books to a proper Home Office on the second floor, which could be accessed directly from the Master Bedroom. At various times, an automated DVD storage and playback system, data and information processing, and a mainframe for the smart home software were added to the study, also.

Well, as technology has progressed, most of what I've just described has become entirely obsolete. Practically everything has become wireless and so requires no "station." Hardcopy media is obviously on its way out as everything possible becomes digitized (although I still love the sound of vinyl). And if the latest technologies are exploited, a glass kitchen table could almost as easily be a touch-screen monitor and workstation as a desktop computer. This room has shrunk considerably over time, as its different functions have become impossibly tiny or unmoored from any permanent physical location.

So as I conceive it now, it's first of all a place to meet and greet guests who are visiting more for business-related reasons than personal ones. Traditional shelves for hardcopy media may never go completely out of style (as with the appeal of rare first-edition books, etc.), and we still have perhaps several decades before the entirety of human knowledge is available as digital information. There's also no reason there can't be a nice space dedicated to finding, acquiring, downloading, and processing all that information, with perhaps a stronger, faster, hardwired internet connection. If and when desktop manufacturing becomes more prevalent, that's something that might necessitate having a physical location with specific characteristics--room for storage of raw material, adequate ventilation, control of vibration, perhaps even sterility. But since that technology is in its infancy, it's difficult to say if that would be here, the garage, the kitchen, or some other place. The shelves could obviously be used for the display of art objects and treasured belongings, as well.
There's still a hidden doorway from here into the Living Room, since that's where the digitally-stored movies and music will be enjoyed. It also has its own separate entrance from the outside so that it can be used for a professional practice and accommodate clients, patients, or whoever, without bringing strangers with muddy shoes through the main entrance of the house.

©2013, Ryan Witte

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