It is hard to quite believe a month has passed already since lockdown started. At the start, aside from everyone’s obvious health and welfare worries, being a business owner gave me other concerns - how would this ‘new normal’ impact PAD studio?
In truth, the past few weeks have been frantically busy! We have submitted two planning applications, started on the design journey for three new exciting projects, including an art gallery (the sort of project that an architect dreams of) and continued progressing our existing projects. As well as being an emotionally challenging time, it has also been exhilarating.
Fortunately, most of current project’s sites are within cycling distance and one is adjacent to a previous scheme, so we know if well. By cycling (my daily exercise) I have been able to take in the area at a slower place, at different times of the day over the period of several weeks which has allowed me to engage with sense of the place of the site. The architect, Peter Stutchbury (one of my favourite architects), has been known to camp at project sites in order to gain a better understanding of place. It is my belief that only through familiarity and direct experience of a place during different times of day, weather conditions and seasons that we can really understand and appreciate the uniqueness of a site.
Working from home can be isolating, our company studio space has been created as deliberately open plan and we encourage creative interaction, home can seem very quiet in comparison. I am fortunate to have a working space with views of my garden, this connection to nature is constantly inspiring. Zoom coffee breaks are just no substitute for face to face and we all miss the great team banter of the studio.
Technology has been a tremendous help to the studio; we were already set up to accommodate working remotely, so the technological infrastructure was already in place. The PAD studio team is scattered and isolated but being able to meet remotely is a wonderful way to simply talk things over providing time for reflective thinking, pondering future ways of working, discussing our research projects and most importantly to keep morale up.
Whilst we are thankful for the lessons our new normal has taught us all both personally and from a business perspective, it’s tough being apart. However, we are convinced that by being dynamic, resilient and embracing the positives that technology can offer, we will emerge stronger and better placed for the future.