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Corona, BETA, Interview

Time for reflection and rethinking: How is Amsterdam’s BETA architecture studio dealing with the coronavirus crisis

How has the working routine in your office changed?
Auguste van Oppen: The routine has changed in many ways, all of them quite abruptly as the anti-corona measures were being implemented. Informal conversations form an important part of our office culture. With this being impossible, we’ve tried to keep this culture alive by having regular calls and team meetings. While we were already using online collaboration tools such as Teams, Planner and Miro, we need them even more dearly during this period.Generally, the speed at which we accomplish goals has decreased. In return, we have noticed that there is more time for reflection and research.

What tips can you give colleagues?
Collaborating through digital interfaces removes important context from human interaction. It is very important not to take everything at face value but to try (more than ever) to be empathetic of the other. Everyone’s situation is different: some have children at home, others live in a small apartment or have financial uncertainties. Patience and empathy are probably the best virtues during these times.

What do you miss the most during the Corona pandemic?
That must be the meetings in person. While we are blessed with countless fantastic digital tools we cannot yet see them replacing the fire of real human interaction.

Where do you see the challenges for the future and how can they be mastered?
We are most concerned with how humanity will behave as we emerge from this crisis. Will we use the economic slump as an alibi to reconvene where we left off, or will we reconsider the mechanisms in place and try to better our ways?
On the micro-scale of our office we are of course concerned with the economic implications of Coronavirus. We hope to master these by continuing to work on future-proof architecture.

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