How does the Corona crisis affect the day-to-day work of architects?

    With the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, many companies and industries are upside down facing regulatory cuts and market changes. In the architecture industry, the effects seem manageable so far. Nevertheless, architects are also feeling changes in their day-to-day work - from setting up their workplaces to the structural implementation of projects and the development of a new understanding of architecture.

    New way of working:

    The rapid rise in Corona infections and the resulting requirements for safety distances and hygiene measures in March have made it necessary for many companies to quickly reorganize their daily work routine. With the retreat from the office premises, which often meant moving into the living room at home at the same time, everyday working life suddenly looks very different. A good IT infrastructure is now more important than ever for companies and employees. It is a decisive factor in the manageability of office operations, even from home. The same work tools are not important for every architect. Those who mainly plan can also coordinate efficiently with colleagues and business partners online and work independently of location. Draftsmen, on the other hand, need work tools and rooms that the home office often cannot provide. In this case, it is important to decentralize workplaces in the office, and an opportunity could be found in limiting work trips if those involved also recognize other communication channels, such as online conferences, as a good solution. Last but not least, moving to a home office can raise the question of whether location-independent working might not even allow for staff growth while maintaining the same space capacity.

    New way of planning:

    However, the need to live and work in the same space can also give rise to new concepts in architecture. These include, in particular, the idea of mixed-function architecture: rooms that are designed from the outset to allow people to live and work in them in equal measure. Architect Stephan Schütz of Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) believes that this would not only reduce traffic in cities, but also allow residential neighborhoods to develop in a more mixed way. 

    New way of construction:

    Once plans are drawn up and contracts signed, construction can begin. But here, too, the ongoing Corona crisis holds unprecedented challenges. To date, a severe slump in the construction industry is not assumed. Nevertheless, there are occasional bottlenecks in building material deliveries, employees from other European countries are unable to enter the country, or cases of illness hamper operations. If cutbacks occur, the terms of the contract should first be examined. In VOB contracts, for example, detailed regulations for performance disruptions and their consequences can be found in § 6 VOB/B. In BGB construction contracts, on the other hand, Section 286 (4) BGB regulates the handling of execution deadlines. If, on the other hand, decision-making processes in ongoing projects are delayed, it is important to improve the conditions for direct coordination with the parties involved. Intensive communication is thus one of the key elements.