As we all #slowdown to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to share with you how we as a global company have faced this situation, and what we are doing (together with you!) to keep us, the architecture community, informed and connected. It is our responsibility.
As a global company with offices in five countries, with staff working from 10 different countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East, and the Americas, we first faced this pandemic when our China office went into lockdown during the Chinese New Year. Our team in China shared with us their perspective on what this meant for their work and daily life, and from the other side of the world, we saw how something that we considered very distant would start to unfold closer to home.
ArchDaily is only as strong as each person in our team. Our priority is the wellbeing of everybody who works with us, so in response, we switched to a home office mode in order to stay safe and contribute to the containment of this pandemic. This was, in fact, a long-time existing strategy within ArchDaily, as remote working is part of our DNA. But even though we have the platforms and workflows in place to work from home, the risk of social isolation remains real, and we are taking measures not just to work online, but to stay connected and support each other.
As conferences and trade shows were postponed, we started to reflect on what this could mean for digital channels. As the Salone, the Venice Biennale and the AIA Conference were postponed, opportunities did exist to conduct some of their core programs online, such as product launches, conferences, discussions, and panels. But it was important not to rush, as the global situation became much more delicate than just postponed events.
As the world enters a slowdown mode, we have seen how quickly the majority of firms in Europe and America have closed their studios and shifted to work from home. For medium to large global practices with frameworks and systems in place, this was a quick move. For others, it is harder. We as a profession have a deep ability to collaborate, exchange, and to work in an interdisciplinary way, so embracing online opportunities has a big potential. We are committed to helping you face the challenges along the way, so you can make the best of it, learn from it, and grow from it. At this moment we are focused on connecting firms, sharing experiences and best practices, and collaboratively building the knowledge network that will help us all overcome the current challenges.
We are already seeing this rapid change in our industry through our metrics. Site usage and traffic have grown steadily during the past weeks. Traffic in China has risen, in tandem with the hopeful news that the country is getting back on track after the slowdown.
Architectural education, with its studio methodologies and intense face-to-face exchange of ideas and crits, is for sure being challenged as education is forced to move online. In the last days, we have seen many institutions such as the IE and GSD rapidly embrace digital platforms to continue teaching, and many lectures being broadcasted in new, much more personal and direct formats. We are committed to connecting and supporting academics and educators in staying connected with their students and sharing their best practices.
The lessons we learn from this pandemic will have a deep impact on the future of design, be it cities, public spaces, infrastructure, hospitality, or indeed every other architectural typology we will shape within the built environment. Healthy design will be the new norm. Passive strategies for interior comfort, ventilation, sunlight, and humidity, will become a must. We will abstract many good practices from healthcare design into other projects. We will see the emergence of materials with enhanced antibacterial, antiseptic, and also disinfectant properties, both new and adapted. We will be more aware of the composition of the materials and products that shape our everyday spaces, and regulations will push for greater transparency and clarity in declaring their impact on the environmental quality of designed interiors. We will connect with the experts from these fields and with the manufacturers who are innovating to give you the tools to face this new world.
Architects and designers: We are open and committed to being a platform for sharing your knowledge on working remotely, designing with a focus on health for our new world, and resources for online architecture education. We are only as strong as the community we work with, so always feel free to reach us using this form.
Manufacturers and builders: We need to learn how we can use materials and products to build a healthier standard of design. We are open to your experiences, especially those which involve working on and with new materials.
It will indeed be a time of recess and unfamiliarity, but we can also see this as a time to stay focused, a slowdown that can help us strengthen our creativity, expand our mind, and learn. A time to get stronger, and to be ready for when this situation passes, which it will.
We invite you to check out ArchDaily's coverage related to COVID-19, read our tips and articles on Productivity When Working from Home and learn about technical recommendations for Healthy Design in your future projects. Also, remember to review the latest advice and information on COVID-19 from the World Health Organization (WHO) website.