We must teach our next generation of architects not only to solve the problems that are asked of us, but also uncover and illuminate problems and solutions that benefit a wider societal audience.

Professional careers and personal interests can inspire each other if you let them. The only thing your day job and hobby may have in common is you, but if you look closer, there may be ways your work could be improved by something you do for fun, and vice versa.

Schools with robust Learning Commons are schools in which students have access to new worlds through books; are taught to navigate the world of information through multiple platforms; and who not only attain literacy, but also enjoy it. School Learning Commons build skills which can propel students towards academic and personal success, with measurable positive impacts.

The Jasper building replaces an earlier fifteen-story, post-war era multi-family structure situated in the Harleston Village neighborhood of downtown Charleston. The site has commanding views to both the Ashley River (to the west) and the Charleston Harbor (to the east), with immediate neighbors being Colonial Lake, Moultrie Park, and the South of Broad historical residential neighborhood. Given this context, the new building needed to complement its adjacent neighbors.

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?

Operating a high-performing architecture and design firm leverages the best collaboration in every team member to achieve optimal results. We may have individual talents or inspiration that arises from solo work; however, building anything great- projects, companies, or communities- is a collaborative effort. The unexpected events of 2020 have given us opportunities to explore new tools for collaboration, even as these events have tested and challenged our established systems and methods in the process.

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.