How Can Designers and Architects Learn to Adapt and Continue to Collaborate in the Virtual World?

Written by Genevieve Bergman, Associate, Workplace Studio Lead at Number TEN Architectural Group.

As designers and architects, we spend a large portion of our day working with one another and our clients (primarily in person), collaborating on projects.  No matter what phase of a project, we are trying to achieve a collective goal through our interactions by building trust, common bonds, and productive relationships.

Collaboration in the workplace is crucial, whether it is working together brainstorming for creative solutions or offering critical perspectives, it is ultimately offering value to all team members by providing a space to communicate ideas.  Workplace data has proven that a proper balance between focus and collaborative spaces leads to high performance, increased efficiencies and innovation in an office environment.  Collaboration makes us feel good at what we do.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing an unprecedented shift in the way we are used to working in a typical office environment, how do we continue to collaborate in a seamless way at home using technology?  Prior to the virus, in the office we would organically gather whether it is at our layout counters in our open work area, a meeting room with a whiteboard or in our workplace café with pin-up boards.  In these spaces all studios /disciplines came together for either a design charette, pin-up critic or brainstorming session for a new project concept.  It helps us look at the bigger picture, edit our work and learn from one another.  As we are all adapting during these uncertain times, we have taken a closer look at a few helpful tools that make it easier to continue to collaborate in a creative way remotely.

The first tool that we found extremely valuable is called ‘Conceptboard’.  As designers and architect’s we are always seeking a way to organize our thoughts is one (visual) collective place.  This app is essentially a virtual collaborative whiteboard.  It focuses on visual projects allowing multiple people to drag and drop posting images, draw, write, pin notes all in real-time.  You can even assign follow up tasks to team members.  We found this app to be very helpful for when we are trying to compile all of our concepts in one collective place for our Design Development presentations.

The second tool we tested out is called ‘Miro’.  Miro is a visual collaboration platform that provides creative templates to help turn an idea into a finish product.  This program is very useful for teams brainstorming ideas to help find the most optimal solution for a design problem.  It is also a great tool for all team members to continue learning outside a typical office environment.

Last but not least, one of the most useful tools we looked at was called ‘Mural’.  We are constantly mocking up pages for our design presentations and sets of working drawing packages with our team members to help organize our thoughts and divide and conquer.  This platform lets you digitally customize our own storyboards with endless template options.  Teams can join together and add images, sketches and visually mock out ideas.

It is now more important than ever for us to recognize the workplace is essential and we must continue to build community, maintain office culture, and reinforce relationships with co-workers even if it is in the virtual world.  We hope these digital platforms help you effortlessly adapt and come together to continue to collaborate.

Genevieve Bergman

About the Author

Genevieve Bergman is an Associate and Workplace Studio Lead at Number TEN Architectural Group.  Prior to joining Number TEN, Genevieve honed her skills with a large international design firm in Toronto where she worked on a wide range of complex commercial office projects for some of North America’s most innovative companies.

You can access more great Blogs from Number 10 Architecture at https://www.numberten.com/blog.