Learning from lockdown: How do we talk about the value of architecture?

Rob Fiehn and Bobby Jewell at housing Negroni Talk Nov 19 (low res) (61 of 76) Pic by Luke O'Donovan

Source: Luke O'Donovan

Coming out of the pandemic architects will need to show they are great at listening to communities, says Rob Fiehn

No one can accurately predict the outcome of the current crisis. Anyone who makes sweeping generalisations about huge societal change is most likely serving up hot takes to pass the time.

We know that long-term change is on the cards but what form that takes is uncertain. It is less risky to look at current trends in architecture and imagine how the virus might act as a catalyst to speed up their adoption in the mainstream.

Attitudes are changing to healthcare, homes and workspaces, as well as the role that central and local government play in our daily lives. This provides architects with an opportunity to change public perception of the profession and better communicate the principles of community-focused projects.

For instance, the discussion about working from home has been percolating around office design for as long as I have been in the industry. We can now more clearly envisage a future where that is a regular occurrence. It’s all about getting enough people to cross those initial technological and cultural boundaries and create a new normal.

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