This I feel is the thesis:
In many of the high end, highly professional spaces furnished by Vitra and Hermann Miller, architecture is nothing but a high quality shell. Seems a shame that we haven’t moved on since the early twentieth century and the open plan work space? Perhaps it is simply the case that the shell-like open space is the genetic architecture of the factory and these days more spaces then ever before are operating under factory conditions. The knowledge factory is a broad term, a hospital (something that Herman Miller have a heavy focus on) is in many respects a smart shell, it has become factory-like, rather then a series of spaces for healing. The factory-zation equals the spread of the open plan, of the shell like architecture. Thinking of the mosque – huge open plan spaces – never mind the cannons of their design – the base idea is that the prophesies of Mohammed are spread through the spoken word rather then written down in the equivalent of the bible – they started life as also spaces of knowledge exchange and the production of ideology. The only vast open plan modern spaces that come to mind, seeming not to be factories are any modern buildings in the Middle East. Here they are need for environmental control, as vast interior public spaces. ‘Smart’ shells acting as the controlling threshold between the external and internal environment. Spaces of community manufacture/socialist identity in Brazil. It would be good to challenge or else radically push this idea of open plan shell-like architecture as the genome of manufacture. [a pragmatic thought: leaving it to the furnishings to keep up with the developments of the corporation seems a shame (perhaps this is where the placebo like architecture can find its civic grounding)] The Placebo Architecture Orb is a good start to conceptualised the relationship between architecture and the corporation. It focuses on the PR effect of architecture on the corporation (for the moment bypassing the physical qualities of ‘open place’ and ‘smart shell’). This PR effect of the shell could perhaps start challenging the internal goings on of the company and start becoming effective beyond the simple shell. After this investigation I can induce the ‘open plan’ and ‘smart shell’ as physical attributes in the light of the previous findings.
Edited: The TS would probably thus be about the smart shell.