Lessons from China: Our covid experience became a blueprint for the whole practice

Broadway Malyan - Shanghai 1 covid

Broadway Malyan’s Shanghai studio was the first to enter lockdown. Director Sean Li explains how they continue to share their experiences

The true horror of what was unfolding in China struck during what should have been the happiest time of year. New Year in China is normally a time of celebration and hope, a time spent away from work with family and friends.

This year it was spent watching the emerging crisis coming out of Wuhan and within days everybody across China was in a state of confusion, caught in what looked like a potentially life-and-death situation.

As a family man, my first concern was for those nearest and dearest to me but, as a business leader, it was impossible to ignore the possible consequences of an enforced lockdown: how that would affect the Chinese economy, our business and my colleagues in the Shanghai studio.

The reality then – and it remains true today – is that China, or any economy for that matter, cannot stand still for a quarter. The immediate consequences would be disastrous and the road to recovery unimaginable. In China it was estimated that 85% of small and medium-sized businesses – two-thirds of the economy – would not survive three months with no income.

While the outbreak was still in its relative infancy the Chinese government announced we could no longer enter our studios

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a print copy of WA100 worth over £30 when it is published in December.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts