25-05-2020

Architecture, the pandemic and the future of design: Form4 Architecture

Form4 Architecture,

Medical Emergency Covid19,

In only a few months, everything has changed completely. Even the world of architecture. In search of possible new scenarios, Floornature opens the discussion of a new approach to design for a time of public health emergency, publishing a series of interviews with architects all over the world.
How are the big studios organising their work, and what has been the impact of the current situation on smaller architectural practices?
What does it mean to design infrastructure, cultural centres and living spaces while avoiding social contact?
Might the resilience we seek in buildings also be applicable to the profession of architect?
Here are the architects’ responses, some in text form and others in videos, in the usual style of our portal.



Architecture, the pandemic and the future of design: Form4 Architecture

John Marx, co-founder and Chief Artistic Director of American architecture firm Form4 Architecture, San Francisco

1. How did your firm handle the lockdown?

Things are very intense in certain parts of the US, such as New York. The San Francisco Bay Area and the State of California reacted very early with Shelter in Place orders, and that seems to have been quite effective in softening the Curve.

2. What new forms of work are you experimenting with and how about the results?

At my office, all 42 of us started working at home on March 17th. It turned out to be a very easy transition, with only two employees needing to borrow a large monitor. I start my day at 8:00am and am on the phone or in Zoom Meetings fully until 6:00pm…. We even have new projects starting up!!! Most of our clients are Silicon Valley tech companies. They started embracing remote meetings several years ago, when the traffic became untenable. All of our working files are Cloud based, we allows easy remote access, and the staff can use their office PC directly thru SplashTop.

3. How do you think this experience will affect the future management of an architectural practice?

Everyone has been keeping a very high energy level. It seems we are as productive as we were in the physical office. It will be interesting to see if we continue this in some format after the SIP orders are lifted. I rather enjoy the virtual office, it seems much quieter, and in many ways easier to focus.


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