The crisis shows: The more digitally an architectural practice works, the greater the competitive edge. In this interview, oow associate Robert Blödorn talks about digital tools, flexible planning in times of Covid and the benefits of a carpentry apprenticeship.
It works great!
Before Covid, if someone had asked me what one of our major strengths was, I would have said, among other things: We are always up to date with new technologies! I really admire that about oow’s founders Sebastian and Mathis: We make full use of all the tools available on the market. And that takes courage, since it costs a lot of money. But now with Covid, it has paid off big time. I had the impression that 80 to 90 per cent of all architectural firms said: We can’t work digitally, it’s just not possible. We, on the other hand, had moved everything to the cloud and switched to different software solutions within just one week. It works without a hitch.
Of course it’s nicer when you also work together physically, but I think we are handling it very well. Every Friday, we all get together for a virtual after-work beer, and we’ve even tried out games on that occasion. It’s always super fun and there’s only one rule: No talking about work! (laughs)
Yeah, we were thrilled about that! We have only been on board for two years and it is great that our work is seen and appreciated in this way.
Even before Covid, our distinctive feature was that we were always up to date in terms of technology – and of course we will stick to that. Especially in times like these, you not only have a competitive advantage compared to firms that are lagging behind. You also get better results in general.
Yes, definitely! We want to create an image as quickly as possible that comes as close to the eventual reality as possible. Many architects don’t do this as early as we do because it takes a lot of time. But we strongly believe in this. Architects are very good at assessing rooms based on floor plans, but if you don’t have a background in the industry, it’s much easier to use images. And we see that it is extremely well received by our customers.
Yes, even very recently in a project in Tübingen that I am supervising. It is an existing building, an old factory. Originally, we wanted to have co-working spaces and flats there. Now it will probably be a laboratory building. It’s crazy how quickly a project can change. But it’s incredibly exciting to see the range of different ideas that can be developed for a building and how differently rooms can be used in principle.
That it is human. For example, a city that consists only of steel and glass buildings doesn’t emanate anything. Cities and buildings really only become liveable when different atmospheres are created by using different materials. I already loved playing with materials during my apprenticeship as a carpenter, which I did before my architecture degree. Many university graduates have never seen the inside of a workshop. That’s definitely different for me. (laughs)
A house of my own would be nice, somewhere in the countryside. I find that in nature, buildings not only look more iconic, but good architecture often allows them to blend in much more harmoniously than in big cities, which may seem surprising at first glance. My house would definitely have a lot of wood – and a great view.