The current hybrid environment, with some team members working socially distanced in our offices, others working from home, and some preferring a mix of both options, has been extremely successful. We were curious as to how team members from different generations felt about this transition, so we asked three members of one family- all of whom work in different offices within the firm- to share their perspectives. Neil Dawson, LS3P’s Savannah Office Leader, brings the longest professional history of the three with over thirty years in architectural practice. His daughter Emily is an architect in the Charleston office, and his daughter Ellie is a recent graduate and a Marketing Coordinator in the Greenville office.

Though the original author of the blessing “may you live in interesting times” may be lost to history, he or she would certainly agree that 2020 would qualify. Headlines from compounding crises compete for our attention and emotional resources. We have become numb to the word “unprecedented,” and we feel ill-equipped to process, let alone solve, the number of urgent issues that must be addressed. If we are, as it seems, at an inflection point requiring large-scale change and action on many fronts, where do we begin?

Remember, the faith community is not the building, it is the people, even when they are at their own homes. Our job as designers is to create a building that is an effective tool to support the congregation. The coronavirus is not just a health crisis; it is a design problem, and every day we come up with solutions to solve problems through the built environment. So how are people using the physical worship building to help address the new challenges we face during the pandemic?

On March 13, 2020, many students across North Carolina went to their schools for the last time of the 2019-2020 school year. COVID-19 was labeled a pandemic, as it spread across the United States forcing students and their families into quarantine. High school seniors who normally looked forward to special events like the prom and graduation were now facing the fact that these events were cancelled or being held online. Due to this, I was worried my summer internship would also be cancelled, so when I received my internship notification letter on May 18, 2020, I was ecstatic!

After living with the threat of COVID-19 for several months, it is increasingly clear that we will need to manage this situation for some time to come. Habits and lifestyle changes adopted as pandemic strategies may prove enduring, and these changes will be reflected in our designs in both the short-term and long-term. Multifamily developments pose unique challenges and opportunities. Designers must consider how people use private residential spaces as well as public shared spaces. In both settings, design and operational strategies can support healthier, more comfortable lifestyles as needs evolve.

When colleagues at Mazzetti asked LS3P to join an effort led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Federation of Healthcare Engineering (IFHE), we were honored and humbled by the opportunity to help. The directive was to present strategies for circulation, social distancing, PPE, and ventilation for an existing healthcare facility in Dedougou, Burkina Faso to prepare for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. The urgency of the situation was reflected in the ambitious timeline- eight days from kickoff meeting to final draft.

COVID-19’s impacts on the travel industry are vast and far-reaching. With the global pandemic affecting travel worldwide, air travel has plunged to post 9/11 levels. Disruptions to the industry are likely to persist as long as the virus remains a threat, and many people will choose not to fly long after restrictions are lifted due to COVID-related health concerns or economic constraints.

Over the past few weeks, we have found ourselves in the midst of a unique opportunity. We have been forced to change our routines, and our days look very different than they used to. A change of perspective can be enlightening: when we move through the same routine every day, it is easy to keep on our blinders and focus only on the things along our own path. When our routines are suddenly altered, however, we may discover and learn new things. This can be a difficult or even frightening process, so we rarely do it by choice.

A visit to the doctor will not be the same after COVID-19.  As our healthcare practitioners prepare to re-open medical office buildings after COVID-19 closures, they will be working in a very different medical landscape. Healthcare organizations are committed to delivering the best possible care for their patients, and are extremely conscious of new protocols for both patient and staff safety. LS3P is exploring with our clients ways in which clinics can adapt the physical environment to help maintain physical distancing and follow CMS recommendations for reopening facilities to provide non-emergent, non-COVID-19 healthcare.

With campus cultures rooted in socialization, communal activities, and interdisciplinary collaborations, colleges and universities around the globe face big unknowns in the face of COVID-19 disruptions and recovery. What is known is that higher education in the era of COVID-19 will look significantly different until this pandemic subsides.