Ready, or Not?
This year just hasn’t turned out like we planned. 2020 was supposed to be about clear vision—like the number for someone that doesn’t even need glasses—but instead, things have become less and less clear. Even after we learned that this virus was going pandemic we figured it would be manageable by now, and that there would be some kind of “new normal”, so we could keep on planning as we had before.
Fortunately, we have all done what we had to do to stay safe. Sadly, we have had to make difficult decisions and part ways with some people. Without doubt, the nature and business of architecture and urban design have changed for us. Where the focus of our efforts had been centered around hospitality and assembly, they are now more about shelter and getting back to basics. As a consequence we have had to rethink our business model and our environment at the same time we are re-imagining what the future of our practice will be. Planning during periods of enduring uncertainty is difficult and a bit dangerous, but we have no choice.
We have decided to get “right-sized” for whatever lies ahead. This has meant a reduction in our numbers, as some of our team has moved away, or decided to go back to university. We haven’t been able to keep everyone we wanted to, but we have retained those of us that are the most committed to making our future better. Working from home, we have already learned how to collaborate without many of the shared facilities we previously thought were essential. This new agility will become more a part of our ways and methods going forward. For these reasons we have decided to leave our spacious offices on Bay Street overlooking the Savannah River and South Carolina, and relocate to more centrally located office space in the Thomas Square neighborhood. This space will be much more efficiently organized, and better wired. We will be able to serve our clients, and our public consumers in ways that will be more accessible, and hopefully less expensive.
Probably the most difficult thing about being professional planners in these times is dealing with unpredictability. The truth is that there will not be a “new normal”. What is coming is constant change. Embracing that, we are turning our focus toward the things that are most basic about human needs—safe shelter, healthy living, and places that are full of wonderful surprises. The anxiety that people are feeling is real, and our goal is to try and make environments that allow room for more sanity. Affordable housing, fresh food, abundant daylight, quiet sanctuaries, and unforgettable escapes come to mind. In a world of constant change, these things will always be needed.
Ready or not, here we come!