Lina Lahiri is Architect & Project Manager at Sauerbruch Hutton in Germany. She studied architecture at the Oxford School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University, and at Bartlett, University College London. Since 2005, she is an architect at Sauerbruch Hutton, responsible for major projects.
DEVO: What expectations do the big developers have from an architect?
Lina Lahiri: We do not see a difference in developer’s expectations, but an understanding if some matters need a bit more time in the initial home office time. We still have the responsibility to deliver the best possible architecture on-time and are able to do so through a rigid set up of home office. All meetings are held over video conference systems, where we see that our clients are flexible and positive. In some cases a more intense communication takes place as meetings are now held more frequently than before. A new code is developing where one gets to know each other as meetings “take place” in living rooms and bedrooms, children passing by and the dress code becoming more casual.
DEVO: How does the current pandemic affect the developments of your ongoing
Lina Lahiri: The city’s administrations have generally slowed down, which makes coordination and planning procedures sometimes lengthier. Some clients have put projects on hold due to the situation of their investors and others have postponed the start date. In Germany the building sites are still running. In Switzerland and France there has been a slow down but will run again soon with adjusted management and security measures. Our project in Stockholm is running as scheduled. Generally, we see a careful but positive attitude throughout the array of projects, but then again architecture is always the essential nature of human contact so the economic downturn is yet to come.
That said, we are running large projects and are in late design phases in many of them currently, which surely has an impact on their development. We are also curious to see how the international work will develop as travels are restricted. At some point countries might want to encourage their own architects to support the national economy.
DEVO: What do you think we have learned so far from this situation created by the pandemic?
Lina Lahiri: We have learned that we live in a sensible system but also that we are able to adapt and adjust very quickly. We have learned the essential nature of human contact, but also that many meetings can be held digitally. As an agency that works internationally, we have also realized how much time we save by having meetings online and a new meeting etiquette has developed. We would often travel a day for a two hour meeting. That is time that can now be invested in the design and the team. We are grateful to the clients that support and believe in our work and we see how loyal, patient and hard working our team is. Some office members are juggling home schooling duties with work, while other very new office members only getting to know the system remotely.
The slowdown of the society has maybe allowed for a different concentration of the essentials and that goes for architecture as well. It has forced us to a different lifestyle and we can see the positive effects in the environment very quickly. Now it is up to us to decide how we want to continue practicing and living.
Lina Lahiri participated as Speaker at the first edition of DEVO – International Forum of Large Developers. This year’s edition will take place at JW Marriott Grand Hotel in Bucharest on October 23.
Master Partner DEVO 2020: ARABESQUE. Professional Partners: KONE, ROCKWOOL, DANFOSS. Partners: KNAUF INSULATION, KNAUF, ALUKÖNIGSTAHL, ZACARIA. Supporter & Exhibitor: SKYLUX. Media Partners: Zeppelin, Igloo, Spațiul Construit. Institutional partner: Romanian Order of Architects.
More details on: www.bit.ly/devo-2020-eng
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