This time three years ago, we were dusting off our sketchbooks and sharpening our minds after a busy, yet routine holiday season. Decorations had been packed away and the New Year looked bright. Two months into 2020, though, the world had different plans. We won’t rehash the bizarre days of the early pandemic, but suffice to say the three years since have been such an incredible learning opportunity for Whitten Architects. In many ways, these last few years have fine-tuned the why and the how of what we do.
Like the rest of the world, for the first 18 months of the pandemic our team worked collaboratively by video calls and any other virtual adaptations we could get our hands on. It was important to us, even while isolated at home, to continue our team approach. Put simply, we are not Whitten Architects without this approach.
The very foundation of our team approach was built on the belief that continual collaboration from everyone on our team fuels creativity and should be embraced at every stage of the process. Individual architects shepherd the process,collecting the best ideas, but we actively encourage input from the entire team. We foster this spirit of collaboration by empowering everyone in our office—from seasoned principals to emerging designers.
Pre-Covid, this way of collaborating and inviting everyone from our team to the table happened organically. Our one-floor open office space for our team provided ample opportunity for spontaneous conversations, input, and ideas. There was a sense of cohesiveness and culture in our day-to-day lives. Every office worker around the globe experienced what office life was like while isolated at home for months on end (and while there were certainly some undeniable perks), for a highly creative team whose central ethos is to collaborate, we knew we needed to find a way for our growing team to be sharing the same space again.
With the help of builder M.W. Hoss and our in-house team leader for the office expansion project, designer Ian Parlin, Whitten Architects renovated a second floor of our building to accommodate our growing team and our deeply rooted studio approach. The two floors of our office are designed around working together–both with each other and our clients. Additional common spaces and meeting rooms allow for more collaboration, while individual workstations are designed for impromptu conversations where anyone can pull up a chair.
In the last few years, we’ve added several talented individuals to our team, as our project roster continues to expand. The pandemic has changed the way people think about their homes. In many ways, custom homes are more ambitious and take a bigger team to accomplish than they once did. In a short amount of time, the entire world has changed, and that includes us as architects and our clients as homeowners.
Heading into 2023, we have the largest team we’ve ever had and are expanding our geographical reach even farther with projects in Western Massachusetts and even far-flung locations in Maine like Great Wass Island. We are thrilled for how our team has grown and adapted, and we’re back from holiday this year stronger, busier, and ready as ever.