633 Penn. Ave, NW


A Historic Landmark is the ideal downtown Washington, D.C. office building of the future.


Virtual Adjacency on YouTube – click to view two short videos on YouTube’s site:

1] “Telework; The Changing Nature Of Work. Cure For Traffic Congestion” {4 minutes, produced by The Telework Consortium}, and

2] “Presentation by Aris Melissaratos Charles County, Fiber Optics, Telecommuting
Watch {2 minutes from his keynote speech at the Charles County EDC Summit}

In 1980 I realized the computer was going to change the world. I had to re-think the office building business.

As computer and communication technology continues to evolve (which it does at “Moore’s Law speed”) people’s behavior will change as new technologies make things possible that never were. The enclosures below take you from a brief overview of the Social Impact of Technology Change to a Trend Summary linking computer and communication technology to transportation problems to land-use issues to the future of the office building. Finally, The Hellman Transform shows how these interact, in the context of the relationship between Space and Time and human behavior.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” – Mark Twain. In order to get your imagination in focus, you have to think. I have always told my kids “Thinking is hard work. If you are not sweating when you are thinking, just like pumping iron, then you aren’t really thinking.”

This two bullet point slide is the conclusion of a class first taught at MIT in the department of Electrical Engineering in 1968 – Social Impact of Technology Change CatholicUniv Mar08r

After considerable thinking, I applied wisdom from Mark Twain, Mr. Miagi (from the first “Karate Kid” movie) and the movie “My Cousin Vinny” and concluded that the office building of the future will be more like a club than a factory. 15 years of thinking was required to get the critical concepts down to just two pages –Trend Summary+Hellman Transform CatholicUniv Mar08r

A short article I wrote in 1996 was published by the ULI (Urban Land Institute). In 2009 it still sounds futuristic. But do not be fooled. This type change is disruptive

Now you are ready for the four page paper written 10/21/01 by Marylin S. Burroughs, then President of Blue Chair Design – a leading space planning and interiors design firm in Washington, DC, affiliated with the pre-eminent firm WDG Architecture. It was motivated by my proposed office building of the future at 500 New Jersey Avenue, NW. The title Current Trends in Workplace Organization and Behaviors and their Relevance to 500 New Jersey Avenue (the rendering of this building is on the home page) – the precedent for it was my first application of these ideas: 633 Pennsylvania Avenue which is discussed and shown immediately below.

Current Trends in Workplace Organization and Behaviors and their relevance to 500 New Jersey Avenue

Sears House at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue

In 1982, after 1.5 years of basic research relating the evolution of technology (particularly computer and communication technology) to real estate, I picked the vacant derelict historic landmark building at 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW as the ideal downtown Washington, D.C. office building of the future. Its location, size and configuration were the key attributes that would assure appreciation as technology continued to advance and human behavior changed. It was counter-intuitive that a small old building would outperform the large new ones we had been building for the past 50 years following the invention of air conditioning.

When I brought Randy Aires, Sears’ Vice President for Government Affairs to this location in 1982, nobody wanted to be at 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. Notwithstanding proximity to the most important building in America and the National Archives, the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Institution museums immediately south, the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue still looked like a bomb had just dropped (the aftermath of the race riots in 1968.) Sears’ Washington office was on Connecticut Avenue, NW in the “nice” part of town.

In 1982 Sears celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was the world’s largest retailer. WalMart was just a baby. Sears had the first and dominant catalog operation in the world. I shared with them my research that led me to virtual adjacency and as a result to this specific building as the ideal real estate application. I told them that this office building had a “Smithsonian-quality” location and that they should create the “Sears wing of the Smithsonian” on Pennsylvania Avenue. The two stories to tell in this Sears museum were: 1) how did they grow to become the world’s greatest retailer; and 2) what was retail going to look like in the 21st century.

They did not listen. Today, Wal Mart dwarfs Sears. Amazon.com is growing exponentially and Sears closed their catalog business. … You can lead a horse to water, but …