Architecture in the time of covid

Matthew Lloyd_resize

Adaptation is in the profession’s DNA which means however uncertain the future we can be hopeful, writes Matthew Lloyd in the first of a new series

There is a new term beginning. However, this year it is very different. After 18 months of stress and strain, we are settling into a new pattern of work.

I cannot imagine an architectural practice that hasn’t had great difficulties over covid. Everyone was frightened at the beginning. Staff have been sick or suffered real fear and anxiety. Workloads crashed overnight. Productivity has changed. Firms will have survived in their own ways. Some have been completely at home since it all began; others will have eked onwards in the office in tiny numbers, only evacuating entirely in April 2020 and January 2021.

Most architects are now drifting back to the office – although I do sense rather slowly. Meetings with clients are tentatively starting again, in small groups, like pioneers, with windows left wide open. Generally, we are not a commuting profession, so returning to the office is an obvious thing for us to do. Unlike our co-consultants who mostly seem to commute long distances from the suburbs or countryside, we tend to live much closer to where we work. We believe in the city and the town as viable places to be. We like to cycle to work, or even walk in. In these ways we are a progressive lot. We are hard-working, committed types: working online does not naturally suit this profession.

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