The Next Chapter
14 July 2020
On a late Monday afternoon in March, a few days prior to the declaration of the community quarantine in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, I boarded an almost empty plane from Cebu to Manila after attending a wedding and a couple of meetings in between. It was only the third month of the year; it was also the 20th flight I would be taking in 2020.
Needless to say, I lived a pretty hectic life pre-COVID. If I wasn’t out of town working, I was probably cooped up in the office, burning through the wee hours of the morning. I was in a constant struggle trying to do multiple things at once, yet be present in our projects scattered all over the country. Life moved at a pace so fleeting that when the President announced that a lockdown would be put in place, it was purely unfathomable. Architecture is collaborative, experiential, and tactile; working remotely and apart for extended periods seemed impossible. Observation of a project site’s sight, smell, sound, and touch cannot be recreated virtually. The candor of face-to-face interaction and impromptu discussions make communication helpfully frictionless. Thumbnail-sized colleagues on a screen are a diminished replication of huddles that drive office experience and creativity. How on earth was my team going to survive a fully remote work setup, notwithstanding this country’s unreliably temperamental internet connection? There was, however, no choice but to shift toward a remote work setup — health and safety unquestionably come first [...]
By Rebecca Plaza for The Philippine Star's 34th Anniversary Issue Read more here.