Progressive Architecture magazine has awarded Washington architect Richard Ridley & Associates a "research citation" for telling the U.S. Senate how to make more workspace for its staff without further building expansion.
Prepared for the Commission or the Operation of the Senate, the Ridley study is virtually ignored by the architect of the Capitol, who is in charge of space allocation and furnishing.
The Capitol architect's office, in turn, feels that the Commission on the Operation of the Senate ignored the fact that a comprehensive masterplan, dealing with space problems, was underway before Ridley was called in.
About 10,000 Senate employees are now scattered in sundry crowded buildings far beyond the over-crowded Captiol and adjacent Senate Office buildings. Complaints about crammed sweatshop conditions are exceeded only by the lamentations of House office workers.
An essential premise for improved working conditions, the Ridley study says, is a detailed space inventory which has never been made.
The study recommended a roving team of professional interior designers be on call to help senatorial and committee staffs to reorganize their offices for better space utilization, more privacy, less noise and less space-consuming duplication of functions.
It also says that the Capitol architect should commission a handbook with basic data, helpful hints and a listing of a variety of furniture and systems, including sound-absorbing room dividers.
Ridley's illustrations show boarded-up fireplaces, mezzanines for office files in high-ceilinged offices, utilization of needless toilets and pantries, concentrated work stations, private office cubicles and glass doors and walls for visual spaciousness.
Ridley cited the office of Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-Ore.) which, some years ago, was completely modernized along functional lines by Herman Miller Co., the office furniture company, as a shining example of what can be done. The modernization, says Ridley, reduced the staff, personnel turnover, time required for answering inquiries, and overtime.
Several other senators retained interior designers. One who requested Ridley's design help gave up when it proved all but impossible to unravel the red tape involved in requisitioning a more efficient desk.
The Progressive Architecture jury called the Ridley study "very basic, very clear . . . trail-blazing."