The following text was drafted in response to the first prompt in The Architect's Newspaper's “Post-Pandemic Potentials” series. A previous response, by Mario Carpo, argued that all the changes ushered in by the pandemic are likely to be reversed. Read more about the series here.
As the last of our mid-term reviews were completed in early March, the looming red dots of the COVID-19 tracker were still well east of New Haven—indeed, an ocean away. The design studios on the upper levels of Rudolph Hall were strewn with the typical detritus of the charrette, as our students departed for spring break and a well-earned two-week respite. Within a few days, however, Yale closed our campus out of an abundance of (what is now clearly justified) caution and we had abandoned the building altogether, told our students they would not return to those studios for the rest of term, and were scrambling to heave the entire curriculum into an online mode. Instead of resetting our spaces for the last push of the term, we turned to creating digital collaboration infrastructure, teaching everyone how to use Zoom, and chasing our students around the globe to verify their time zone, home equipment, and connectivity.