COVID-19: What it means for the architecture industry?

Due to the coronavirus outbreak and quarantine, most companies have had to adapt to the situation and transfer the company’s work force to remote work. Architecture agencies worldwide have successfully kept running projects from their home offices. However, implications of the crisis for the construction sector and architecture industry are still uncertain. In our new format #AVAtalks, we interviewed Andrea Vattovani about the coronavirus impact on the architecture industry. 

How is the AVA responding to the coronavirus outbreak?

Andrea Vattovani: As the public health authorities in Austria advised to limit social contacts, we decided immediately to close our office in Graz and our team switched to remote work. In order to organize working from home, I called a meeting with the team and we efficiently planned our remote work. In some cases, we had to re-adjust the responsibilities and the assignments of projects due to the emergency situation. 

Do you keep running projects in the current situation?

AV: Since we managed to organize our work at the beginning, I can proudly say that we have kept working normally. None of our projects are impacted by the current situation. Moreover, we even have signed two new contracts during this quarantine. 

How do you think the coronavirus crisis will impact the architectural industry?

AV: I believe that the coronavirus crisis will positively affect the real estate market similar to the financial crisis of 2007/ 08.  I think people will avoid keeping assets in the bank accounts even more. Most people remember the Cypriot financial crisis where the system had to confiscate savings from the Cypriot’s banks in order to save the island`s banking system. Therefore, I believe that investment will keep booming in projects and apartments. I also believe that during quarantine many people have already noticed the importance of the cozy and welcoming surroundings of their own homes. I think that this is a time where we rethink whether our environment is comfortable and functional to live in 24/7. 

Do you have any predictions on how the clients’ needs will change after the crisis?

AV: I believe there will be again a shift of wealth which is going to affect the market in terms of real estate ownership and different rental demand balance. Moreover, I think that people will start to invest more at home also because for a while there will be less tourism. 

What lessons can the architectural industry learn from the coronavirus crisis?

AV: I think that not only architectural companies but all kinds of businesses should learn to be ready and more flexible to emergency situations in terms of working space. We all can notice that companies which have always valued the possibility of remote work are ready to take advantage of this situation. This is simply because they were ready in advance. Another lesson we can learn is that we should be fast at what we do and do it well.  This especially applies to decision making, quality of implementation and project investing. I believe that we will not forget this crisis so quickly. Nonetheless, there are always things to learn from difficult situations.

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