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We’re adapting to a new reality in these challenging times

Emily Booth
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The theme for this week’s print edition of the AJ is adaptation, and it’s a fitting one, considering that’s what we’re all doing now – adapting to a new reality, says Emily Booth

Just think of the changes we’ve all made in several short weeks: how we’ve adjusted and absorbed and altered our usual ways of doing things. Now we’re making tentative moves into a lockdown-eased world. We’re cautious, a bit raw, and instinctively hyper-alert to our surroundings (we certainly don’t need the prime minister to tell us to be so).

We shift from macro-terrors to micro-worries. And then, if we are able, we go out for a nice long walk. At the weekend my family and I strolled in a local wood, which has been planted over several years by schoolchildren and an army of volunteers. The sky was blue – a glorious day. We passed people picnicking and playing ballgames. ‘It’s just like it used to be,’ my small son said.

We are all aware of our space and our place in it. Things architects obsess about are everyone’s obsession now

Except, of course, it isn’t. Being outside is a dance of spatial awareness, passing distances, two-metre rules. We are all aware of our space and our place in it. Things architects obsess about are everyone’s obsession now: public space, green space, learning space, working space. How we get about, where we meet, what we touch. Where do the bikes go, where do pedestrians go – and why, oh why, have we prioritised polluting cars for so long?

Suddenly, with some children going back to school, we are talking about learning outside, of spilling out into other community spaces to find the space to educate our children. Theirs will be a greener, more adaptable future, surely.

The office, and how it might adapt for those fortunate enough to have a job, is fascinating. I’m intrigued by the take of Squire & Partners’ Tim Gledstone in our news analysis. ‘People will only travel to do what they’re not able to at home,’ he says. ‘A visit to the office will be a chance for a more immersive experience. Dwell time and tempo will be different – more relaxed, social, collaborative and enjoyable.’

Right now, we are all adapting to the current considerable challenges – including the AJ. We are part of a wider economic eco-system and the chilly headwinds from Covid-19 mean that, for the next few months, we will be publishing our beautiful print edition on a monthly basis. (Rest assured, we love print as much as you do – and the issues will continue to be packed with drawings, studies and analysis.) 

During this period we’ll also be exploring and building on our award-winning digital content – which includes exciting new features such as Sketchbook and our photography series Behind the Lens. Plus we’ll be adapting many of our live events to the virtual space, making the most of new digital opportunities for learning, sharing best practice and celebrating your wonderful work.

So if you haven’t looked at our website in a while, why not log on to www.architectsjournal.co.uk? We welcome and value your subscriber support during this unprecedented time. Throughout, the AJ will continue to serve you, our readers, with fearless journalism and rigorous commitment to the future of architecture – your very adaptable profession.

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