21st December 2020

2020 – Being collaborative

Continuing our look back at 2020 through our values, London Director Gareth Atkinson looks back at how we have adapted and innovated to collaborate successfully.


col·​lab·​o·​rate | \ kə-ˈla-bə-ˌrāt  \

to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor

As the 2020 working year draws to an end, we have been reflecting on the unique year gone by and how as a practice our values have really come to the fore. One of those values is being collaborative and there is no doubt we have continued to work collaboratively in amongst so much change. Working in teams to test and push each other’s ideas is a fundament of most professions, particularly if you are an engineer or designer. I have personally been buoyed by new joiners remarks of the togetherness and how engaged our teams are. This is not down to one single thing but the ability to be able to continue to collaborate successfully has been a major contributor.

Adopting a mantra of “at home to concentrate” and “at work to collaborate” has been something we have taken into action. The opportunity still to safely meet in the studio for project critiques and to review designs has many advantages and often led to a quicker and more imaginative design process. However, that said, the ability to collaborate through Teams or other video conferencing software has been incredibly powerful.

In many ways becoming better acquainted with video conferencing has positively unlocked collaborative working across our four UK studios and accelerated the fertilisation of knowledge and ideas across the practice.  Design teams no longer have geographical boundaries, team members can regularly meet no matter whether they are, in an office in Newcastle (where one of our key architectural collaborators resides) or at home in Cornwall (where one of our Design Engineers is riding out the Covid storm).

In these times of uncertainty and change, the need for our profession to adapt has required innovation. We have had to innovate to continue to collaborate. I, for one, am proud of how my colleagues have managed to acclimatise to the new workspace arena.  We may not now always be physically together, but together we are. Collaboration is dead, long live collaboration.

2020 – Being collaborative