Offices and administrative buildings are ultimate redoubts of the economic sector. Accordingly, they are projected by managers and profit-oriented developers, and therefore, they have become total commodities of the real-estate market. As a symptom, European Union’s administrative buildings are almost identical to commercial offices, despite representing a public and democratic institution. Hence, the EU has become the result of a post-political situation –in which the economic consensus prevails before any social or democratic intention– rendering its own developments devoid of any civic ambition to contribute and ameliorate the city. In this regard, administrative buildings have become dysfunctional to the city, sealing containers with none or very little interaction with its surroundings.

In Brussels, the office typology has developed in its most agonizing form, since public institutions have no control over its premises –only driven by the opportunism of the market. Thus, the dissertation departs from an analysis of the alienating case of the European district in Brussels, challenging the failures and missed opportunities of privatised architecture and restrictive technocratic masterplanning. As an answer, the ‘interior’ appears as a meaningful instigator of truly civic space, and as a means to subvert these administrative buildings from within. Especially, since normative provision of public space seems insufficient and unsuccessful, only reinforcing self-symbolisms –think of the Seagram plaza. Hence, the ‘interior’ opens up the possibility to reason urban space beyond conventional notions: streets, squares, parks, and so on. Yet the ‘interior’ allows to integrate both inside and outside from the building itself, expanding the disciplinary competences of urban design.

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The office 'schism'