For twelve weeks I was locked up in my recently (almost) completed Marylebone eyrie – a year later than non-planned but, in the long tradition of bespoke projects by the architect for themselves and their family, that is just in time. And it was just in time for Covid and lockdown. But finally my builders returned to complete the walnut-lined staircase and revolving door that will give me the acoustic privacy I so desperately needed on so many Teams and Zoom calls and I started a new tradition of walking to Clerkenwell to the much larger eyrie that is our warehouse office.
The AHMM team works in London, Bristol, Madrid and Oklahoma; and currently in five hundred homes scattered around the world. For the last half dozen years a number of well-respected members of staff have moved far away from our four (soon to be five) bases – as far as Uruguay – and continued to work for us. This is not ideal, but extraordinary talent and commitment earns the right to prove it can work. And, as the Covid pandemic has taught us, work can be done apart as well as together.
So looking forward I am eager to remember lessons learned and to harness the ingenuity that the new challenges we face will inspire in us all. For me, work has always been a place you go to as well as a thing you do. That will not change. But now a new and different series of rituals will emerge as people move around our various bases from their various homes to help us help build the architecture of a low carbon world.
Work as a place and a process and a product must get ever better, more inquisitive, more civilised, more generous and – importantly in our angry world – more tolerant. Nothing changes, it was ever thus.