The idea of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent years. No longer just a physical setting, done right, the workplace can contribute to enhanced employee health and wellbeing, create a sense of community and improve pride in a place of work.
I was tasked to photograph the new International Quarter London building, which is a joint venture between Lendlease and LCR, designed specifically as the new headquarters for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Sitting within a 22 acre site that connects seamlessly to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the emerging Cultural and Education District, IQL is in the heart of Stratford. Combining workplace design expertise, Stratford’s green open spaces and outstanding transport connectivity, FCA staff will also have access to a range of facilities including an onsite gym, large roof terrace and 200-seat auditorium.
The new building was designed by world-acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, to emulate the very latest thinking behind progressive ways of working. With the health and wellbeing of its occupants at the very forefront, it boasts stunning views of the City of London, as well as innovative design features. A key feature of the building is the atrium which has been designed as an open working environment. There are different work settings within the atrium for people to either work together or on their own.
The building has achieved the highest environmental rating for materials used. Innovative Closed Cavity Facade cladding monitors the position of the sun and adjusts the blinds accordingly, working with multi-service chilled beams to keep temperatures comfortable in the building without compromising on maximising natural light for its occupants from the floor to ceiling windows. 100% fresh air is circulated throughout the building, forming a healthy and stimulating environment to work in.
Around 6,300 employees are now established at IQL with the FCA and Unicef moving their headquarters to the development over the summer. They join TfL who moved to their new building, 5 Endeavour Square, in September 2017. Construction of the third commercial building is in progress, with space there pre-let to Cancer Research UK and British Council. Together they shall bring around 2,400 further staff to IQL when they move in late 2019 and early 2020 respectively.
I recently photographed for Microsoft with the brilliant journalist, Allison Linn who is their Senior writer, editor and multimedia storyteller. We were covering a research project at the Microsoft Centre in Cambridge.
When Microsoft released the Kinect system for playing Xbox video games about five years ago, it attracted the interest of an unlikely source: the healthcare company Novartis.
To try to quantify the progress of multiple sclerosis, doctors have developed astandard set of tests they perform. Doctors watch the patient and then use a rating scale to determine how strong the patient’s symptoms are. However, doctors are only human, and despite all their best efforts to standardize the MS test, in the end it is subjective.
That’s why the possibility of using computer vision, which is the type of technology found in the Kinect system, was so intriguing. Using a tool like the Kinect, the researchers at Novartis figured they could get a more consistent reading of how a patient performed on each of the tests, bringing a new level of uniformity that would help doctors better assess the progress of the disease. That, in turn, could speed up the process of getting the right treatments to patients.
Microsoft researchers have long been at the cutting edge of a field called machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence in which systems get better at doing something as they gather more data. Machine learning is ideal for a project like Assess MS because, as the computer vision system captures more recordings of patient movements, it can deliver more consistent results showing the disease’s progression. It was a collaboration between doctor, patient and technology.
Ultimately, the researchers hope that Novartis and other pharmaceutical companies can use Assess MS to speed up clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, and perhaps, eventually, for other, similar diseases as well.
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