Office Cubicle, Philadelphia

Work / Study Pods

Kirby Urner
5 min readApr 13, 2018


The concept of “pod” derives most directly from “cubicle”. A cubicle was never meant as a cube exactly, but had the intended purpose of providing some privacy and insulation from coworkers. One could decorate one’s cubicle. Likewise a pod. “Study carrel” is another influence. In some universities, a senior student or faculty member may be granted such a carrel as a kind of office, or personal workspace (PWS).

The competitive Pod Maker, in this science fiction, is providing office workers with options in some Great Outdoors. The units tend to be free standing. One might imagine adding wheels in which case we’re closer to the Business Mobile (BizMo for short). Office workers (officers) roam around, perhaps parking for extended periods. A roving company might fill a parking lot, perform some work, then move on. Construction companies often operate this way, with officers based in trailers. Members of the architectural firm are more likely in offices.

Catalog of Pod Designs

Those making a living in interior design will be quick to point out that open indoor spaces, like factory floors, have often been the rule. Cubicles are more the exception than the rule, in movies about busy newspaper rooms. The journalists have their desks, but also need to compare notes. A typical office space lines the perimeter with windowed offices with an open space in the center. In addition we have the monitoring desks, more typical for security personnel and nursing stations. Hotel reception and high rise reception desks help round out our Pattern Language.

The school child is customarily provided with a temporary desk in a classroom, with seating organized in rows and columns. Some science fiction turns these desks into workstations, and indeed, the computer lab and even the language lab have helped each student gain access to equipment. The dividing line rarely crossed however, is the one between high rise office tower and high school. We do not typically organize high schools in the form of office towers, with each student given the privacy and luxury of some personal workspace. File management is not usually accomplished through a command line shell or graphical user interface until later, in the college dormitory, or…