What lies ahead? Monk Mackenzie architects on adoption and adaptation

STIR X ICA Pidilite present Design After COVID-19: Hamish Monk and Dean Mackenzie, architects from New Zealand, discuss the positives of agility, adaptation and resilience.

by Hamish Monk and Dean Mackenzie Published on : Jun 11, 2020

The recent global pandemic has been horrific to watch. Unlike earlier epidemics, COVID-19 has spread at an unprecedented rate due to the global and connected environment we live in and has exposed our common humanity with little regard for borders or levels of wealth.

Wynyard Crossing: The city infrastructure in association with Becca and Athfield | Monk Mackenzie architects | Design after COVID-19 | STIRworld
Wynyard Crossing: The city infrastructure in association with Becca and Athfield Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

It has demanded a shift in the way we view the world – from the lives lost to the devastating damage to sectors of our economy. It has forced new ways of working and communicating with others.

What long term changes COVID-19 makes to our world are still to be revealed, but if anything positive is to come out of this, then a more unified, humane and environmentally sensitive society may be one.

Foodstuffs North Island (Cooperative Company) | Monk Mackenzie architects | Design after COVID-19 | STIRworld
Foodstuffs North Island (Cooperative Company) Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

It may force a shift in the way we view the world – from global travel to regional travel, from global supply chains to local supply chains, from free market to more planned markets. Just as politics are national, the once global economy may retreat to once again being more regional. This may be either a short-term view or we may find that a post-COVID world becomes a more robust one with a more local outlook.

LightPathAKL – transformation of 700 m of redundant highway infrastructure into a dynamic cycleway by Monk Mackenzie in association with Land Lab | Monk Mackenzie architects | Design after COVID-19 | STIRworld
LightPathAKL – transformation of 700 m of redundant highway infrastructure into a dynamic cycleway by Monk Mackenzie in association with Land Lab Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

In terms of the economics of architecture, firms will need to be agile and adaptive. They will need to demonstrate diversity in the sectors that they are able to operate in and be proactive.

It will be critical to achieve resilience and adoption. The adaptation of new ways of working and communicating will need to be developed to refine and evolve systems. These changes as per demand will be central to the immediate future. How one shifts gears and responds to changes in demand of different sectors will determine how firms succeed in an increasingly difficult ecosystem.

Foodstuffs North Island – under construction | Monk Mackenzie architects | Design after COVID-19 | STIRworld
Foodstuffs North Island – under construction Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

In the architectural world we had operated in, it had perhaps been too easy to perpetuate the economic imperatives of our clients and architectural self-serving. This sometimes led to good outcomes but had the potential for superficiality that did not always address more fundamental social issues that extended beyond our briefs.

Foodstuffs Headquarters for Auckland Airport, located in Auckland’s Manukau Harbour | Monk Mackenzie architects | Design after COVID-19 | STIRworld
Foodstuffs Headquarters for Auckland Airport, located in Auckland’s Manukau Harbour Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

While we architects cannot solve everything, the post-COVID world may force all of us to revaluate the roles we play in a more socially beneficial and altruistic manner.  In extreme times, architecture and the architectural community could strive to have a greater impact and serve a wider demographic in the design of our public infrastructure.

Architecture, at its heart, is optimistic and has hopes of improving the human condition.

Click  here to know more about and read the other articles in the Design After COVID-19 series presented by STIR in collaboration with ICA Pidilite.

ICA Pidilite leverages Italian technology while bolstering the 'Make in India' narrative to provide top quality premium Italian wood finishes. Know more at  www.icapidilite.com

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