As our entire team has had to adapt to different work schedules and surroundings across London, Manchester and Edinburgh. We have launched an interview series to catch up with individuals and see what creative change, tips, and observations they've been experiencing during this time. This week we speak to Architect Oliver Boaler in Manchester.
How are you feeling given the current situation at this point?
OB: I’m a natural optimist and I do hope they’ll be lots of positives to come out of this. I think we all now have an appreciation of the level of change we’re capable of when we put our minds to it – the excuses for moving slowly on equality or climate change no longer have the same weight.
Who are you isolating with and how are you all finding it?
OB: I’ve been isolating with my housemate, and one of my best friends, Kareem. We’re both working from home so have essentially become colleagues as well as housemates - we both now have a much better idea of what each other actually do at work!
Have you taken up a new skill/hobby since lockdown?
OB: I’m a keen cook so have enjoyed having the time to experiment. My pasta making has definitely improved and I’ve been able to try a lot of new recipes.
During the times you've been out, what are the biggest changes you've noticed?
OB: My street has become a hive of activity during lockdown, (painting, cleaning, pruning, planting, baking) and suddenly we’ve all got to know our neighbours. I can’t leave the flat without bumping into someone now.
What’s been the most challenging thing about lockdown so far?
OB: Not being able to see family and friends – I’ve moved about quite a bit over the years so there are a lot of people who are out of range when it comes to going for a walk or picnic.
What project are you working on?
OB: I’m working on a feasibility study for a new theatre in the North West of England. It’s a really exciting collaboration between client and design team that’s seeking to create a new kind of live performance venue – we hope to be able to share something more on this soon!
How are you finding working from home?
OB: It’s got its good points and bad points, I made a new desk at the start of lockdown for sketching and taking calls at which has definitely helped.
Any particular building or space or city are you wanting to visit?
OB: My last experience of ‘normal life’ before lockdown was to see Bourgeois and Maurice’s (@bourgmaurice) Insane Animals at HOME (@homemcr) in Manchester. It was pure magic - one of the funniest performances I’d been to in long time and we all spent the next week or so re-watching clips of all their songs. I can’t wait for that experience of being in a crowded theatre again.
* #BASIL_ is an acronym for 'Bennetts Associates Self Isolation Loves', our curated content on social media that brings together inspiration for the #wfh days.