One year on


Architype’s virtual Zoom team

Like everyone, we’ve been reflecting on what impact the last year has had on us all.

We’ve faced a variety of individual and practice-wide challenges and acknowledge how much the coronavirus has impacted so many in our society. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost loved ones and all those still affected by the experience.

We took the decision to relocate to remote working ten days ahead of the official lockdown on 23 March 2020, to help protect our staff, clients and colleagues.

One year on from moving our three studios to remote working – who would have thought we’d still all be at home and how much it would have positively changed the way we work? 

  • Who would have predicted we’d have a weekly Monday whole office meeting of all staff, including a mindfulness session?
  • Who would have thought that a year ago as we were setting up full Slack licenses for everyone – that a year on it would be such a powerful platform of constant communication and integration
  • In the early days as projects started to be impacted – who would have thought that a year on we’d have interviewed, employed and welcomed 15 new people via zoom?
  • I personally would not have envisaged living in Orkney – watching the ebb and flow of the tide and the lengthening and shortening days over an entire year – while becoming and feeling more in contact with everyone and everything in Architype

Training continued during lockdown and we now employ 20 certified Passivhaus designers

We now look different compared to the Architype of March 2020: 

  • We’ve evolved into a fully functioning home working organisation with 70+ staff including overseas freelancers and welcome the cut in carbon emissions from travelling that home working has delivered
  • We’ve developed full cross office working and real whole company connectivity, making us more agile, and more integrated
  • We’re delighted that clients have not forgotten the climate emergency whilst they’ve been coping with the Covid emergency. In fact it is becoming more important as people focus on the future
  • We’ve built a significant order book and further improved our finances
  • Our Edinburgh office has grown to twice the size it was last year
  • And – very powerfully – a safe space has emerged in which people feel empowered to share very personal ideas and feelings

This is an incredible achievement and I want to deeply thank our staff team – every single one of us has been a key part of reshaping Architype and re-imagining the ways we operate as an interconnected community. This has made us as successful as we are right now, and with such a positive outlook for the future.

There’ll be many more challenges ahead – but whatever those are we will use our creativity, our passion and our imagination, underpinned by our belief and commitment, to find a way forward. 

As we reflect on the last year, and remember those whose lives have been lost or who are still suffering, let’s ensure that this has not all been in vain. 

As we start to look forward over the coming months particularly towards COP26,…… let’s not follow the general narrative of build back better. 

Instead let’s be forward looking and optimistic, build on what we’ve achieved, and adopt as our vision the motto: build forward better. After all, as just one example, we know that good ventilation is key to minimising infection, and that Passivhaus ventilation and excellent air quality provide clear health benefits.

Thank you to all our staff, clients and collaborators for being a part of our challenging but extraordinary year.

Jonathan Hines, managing director, Architype