RIBA president-elect gets Proustian and bullish on offices – The Property Chronicle
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RIBA president-elect gets Proustian and bullish on offices

The Architect

The best can come out of the worst – if we work (in our office) at it!

As an architect I need to be an optimist – it is part of my survival kit. That does not make me unaware of the bad – but it does make me look for the good (I am ever mindful of Proust’s aphorism ‘the best is the enemy of the good’!). So despite my optimistic outlook I am very aware that beyond the current tragic death count, many impacts of the pandemic lockdown, such as a lack of education for state school pupils and delayed treatment for seriously ill ‘other’ patients, will impact long into the future.

We also need to reflect on the work life rebalance. Can we all manage to continue to read books, bake, walk (and talk even!) in the post-pandemic world? Looking ahead, we need to target the best to achieve the good. So, as we crawl towards a new, as yet undefined normal, we need both to address the collateral damage and to summon the good out of this previously unimaginable global pandemic.

For the state education and health sector, that involves investment in appropriate information technology, and in staff training and numbers. Much as governments, and my profession, like building new, I believe that as we look to a low-carbon future we need to work much more with the stock we have – and focus our collective intelligence on reprogramming, repurposing and reinventing.

We go to a place called work to escape from a place called home, and vice versa. Not least because by escaping from one to the other we can change our mindset

The Architect

About Simon Allford

Simon Allford

Simon Allford has been elected the next President of the Royal Institute of British Architects and will take over the two-year presidential term from 1 September. He is a founding Director of AHMM (where he leads a design studio of 200 architects), a frequent writer, critic and adviser; a visiting professor at Harvard; a previous chairman of the Architecture Foundation; and currently a trustee of the London School of Architecture and the Chickenshed Theatres Trust.

Articles by Simon Allford

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