Architect Michael Aukett outlined his vision for giant mixed-use buildings at a conference debate on the future of working practices.

Speaking at a seminar entitled Well, What Is An Office?, which was chaired by BT head of property Alan White, Aukett explained how offices would soon be part of giant mixed-use complexes.

Built in city centres and small towns, these complexes would be flexible and would include residential space as well as cultural, sporting and commercial facilities.

Aukett said people would no longer wish to travel long distances to work, and would be grateful to live and earn money in one place.

He said a 100 000 m2 complex that Michael Aukett Architects is designing for Railtrack at London's Clapham Junction Station would be a good example of the concept.

Aukett said a shift towards large mixed-use buildings was already taking place in other cities, citing Rotterdam and Berlin as examples.

At the same seminar, delegates criticised HSBC for dated thinking, when it transferred staff to a giant office tower in London Docklands without consulting them.

White said: "Employees from now on will drive what buildings look like because big corporations find those people scarce and need to please them. HSBC will find they have made the wrong decision in a short space of time. You cannot just herd that amount of people around."