In a rough year, architects share what they’re thankful for

Talking Turkey

In a rough year, architects share what they’re thankful for

(🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum/Unsplash)

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a lot going on in the world at the moment. We won’t list it all here, but let’s just say that for every piece of news that causes stress or anxiety, there’s an equal amount of things to be grateful for and appreciative of—be it time with family during quarantine or the ability to continue working towards a goal. In light of the holiday season, we asked designers and architects what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Duncan, SOM San Francisco:

“These days, especially leading up to Thanksgiving, I find myself feeling newly grateful for the essentials—food and shelter. In particular, I’m thankful that we’ve been able to continue our collaboration with the San Francisco Marin Food Bank, designing spaces to help them do their excellent work feeding unprecedented numbers of people in the Bay Area. I’m also enormously grateful for my co-workers, now spread across California and around the world, and the way they’ve continued to do amazing, thoughtful, creative work while sheltering at home.”

Kevin Lichten, Lichten Architects:

“I am thankful that there are people out there in America these days who believe in the power of design, want to create their own place to live, and are not afraid of a good, daring construction project.”

Sarah Hacker, Hacker Architects:

“First, being remote and isolated prompted us to increase our inter-office communication about things outside of traditional work, adding new slack channels for pets, cooking, entertainment, and kids. These social channels have not only replaced the water cooler conversations but boosted social connectivity. Employees sharing pictures of their garden yields, or a beautiful sunset from their house, or their cats, or a TV show they’re enjoying. It’s a light during a rather dark time.

Also, due to rapidly fluctuating project schedules and scopes, we have been able to loan staff between peer firms, even outside Portland. Given that the work is all remote, the barrier to loan staff to a firm in San Francisco or Bellingham is removed, and these couple month stints that our employees have been able to do at other firms has been such a gift. It’s allowed us to minimize staff reductions during this volatile time.”

Jean Lin, Colony Co-Op:

“I’ve never been so aware of the air I breathe and the wonderful people who inhabit my orbit and have graced me and my business with support and kindness. It’s hard to choose just one thing to be grateful for because when more than 250,000 Americans have lost their lives to COVID-19 and life-threatening inequities for Black Americans are front of mind, I’m grateful for life and for the people in my life who work so hard every single day for a better world.”

Alan Maskin, Olson Kundig:

“I think the thing that I’m most grateful for is that we might be on the verge of a global vaccine that can actually save people’s lives. I can’t think of anything on my mind that feels more urgent at this point.”

Blair Payson, Olson Kundig:

“I’m thankful to still be able to contribute at a creativity level in this world. That’s the challenge of the moment is still being able to work and feel like you’re a contributor and we feel fortunate that we’re in a position to be doing that still.”

Eric J. Smith, Eric J. Smith Architects:

“I am grateful for the love of family, the good cheer of friends, the loyalty of my talented staff, and the opportunity that our great clients have afforded us to work on such varied and interesting projects. I am grateful, too, for the good health of all of the above, which as this insidious COVID-19 pandemic has shown us all—is not a given. As an old friend once said, I am happy to be here, to be vertical and still taking nourishment. Happy Thanksgiving all!”