Business as usual is business unusual these days and, like other professions, we’re discovering some of the emergency ad-hoc measures we’ve taken are measures that we’re likely to keep to improve our architectural design processes. They have increased our ability to collaborate, eliminated the restrictions of physical space and fired up the best of our problem-solving capabilities.
How do you take an organic process that thrives on face-to-face interaction and hands-on finesse when there’s a digital wall between collaborators? By moving the pencil to a cursor and the sketch to the screen, our designers are using MURAL software to design and brainstorm in real-time with teammates and clients. While it will never replace the romance of the napkin sketch, we’re finding visual collaboration software is another valuable tool to keep our core creative processes honed and our staff and clients engaged.
A long-standing tradition at CambridgeSeven is touring project sites under construction (ie. ‘half-baked’) as a learning tool to advance professional development and to sate our curiosity. Historically, these site tours aren’t limited to just CambridgeSeven projects but lately we’ve had to make some adjustments. Most notably, the office staff can’t physically visit the site. So we’re arming the project’s team with cameras and GoPro’s and streaming the tours live. Now our nascent videographers can guide the office and field questions in front of a much larger audience and the tours are recorded for posterity (or at least for viewing at another convenient time).
We’re all pro’s at zoom now. The ubiquitous face-in-a-grid screen will be one of the enduring icons of this Covid experience as it’s proven to be the key communication tool to keep businesses and colleagues connected. What we didn’t expect was how invaluable it’s been at facilitating a different type of mentorship: client-facing experience and exposure for our younger staff. Access that was impractical before is now a feasible opportunity to observe and absorb nuanced professional skills like active listening, deft project management and mature decision-making through virtually attended client meetings and presentations.
We can’t invite you over at the moment but we’re trying the next best thing. Environmental photogrammetry digitizes spaces and objects in immersive 3D and allows visitors to virtually walk through our Dietrich Gallery to view the latest art installation. Already used extensively in everything from our exhibit design practice to coordinating the construction phases on the new Reykjavik EDITION, we’re excited about the far-reaching potential of this application to give viewers actual, not just rendered, 3D experiential walkthroughs of our finished built projects.
Although we certainly look forward to that time when we’re all working together in person again, the serendipitous results borne out of this complicated time are pretty inspiring.