I recently read the message I wrote at the end of 2019 and revisited what we had hoped to accomplish in 2020. It could almost be funny, if not so tragic, how positive we were and how the year threw us all such a terrible punch, destroying nearly 260,000 lives in this nation alone (as I write this), putting our industry on hold, and crushing our economy. It certainly gives me pause and a “Winnie the Pooh Taoist” attitude towards 2021.
On the other hand, we have discovered much through the challenge. The light shined brightly on us as a people, and we realized that some social undercurrents were not bearable. Racism, extremism, and violence had been hiding in the shadows, but this year they were made evident, and the nation rose against them. Black Lives Matter movement intensified, and black and white folks joined in solidarity against the shame and cruelty of the too-long-untold truth, starting a positive change of the nation’s social fabric. We also uncovered our better angels, the unsung everyday heroes who have been fighting and are still fighting to save our lives, pushing the limits of their physical and emotional strength.
I always thought of the SR/A team as a close-knit (work) family, but this year, I was moved and humbled by the entire group’s resilience, devotion, and bravery. Together we faced a perfect storm of challenges and significant changes, all happening while under the pressure of demanding submissions. Jessica and her team of managers led the way and steered us successfully through it all. While social distancing and wearing masks, we installed beautiful designs, submitted excellent sets of drawings, made the tough but smart decision to close our gallery storefront, built up our new cottage studio HQ, and set up everyone to work comfortably and efficiently from home, all without missing a beat. Whew! Together we also faced the emotional difficulties of being separated from our families and the worries of keeping us all safe and healthy. We covered for each other and supported each other. We made sure to keep laughing and celebrating together, even if only virtually. In other words, we are now stronger and more symbiotic than ever, and I am so proud of us.
2021 – What do I wish? What can anyone wish for these days? I wish for an effective vaccine. I wish for the team and our families to stay healthy. I wish for projects on hold to come back to life and for our proposals to come to fruition. I hope our new government succeeds and our economy recovers. I wish for the continued awareness and change against racism and extremism. I want people to be one again.
2021 – What do I expect? I expect the first half of the year to continue to be slower than normal as almost all our clients and friends – whether property managers, architects, or developers – tell us that will be the case. I expect the design of multifamily projects to change following the awareness COVID-19 brought on. I expect the working environment to continue to be part remote and part in-person, and people to move further out into the suburbs and even the countryside. I expect the second half of the year to see a tsunami of projects rushing to be the first new-generation, post COVID-19 apartment buildings.
2021 – What do I plan? I plan to expand the team in preparation for the second half of the year. I plan to continue sharpening our method of operation so we can do more with more efficiency. I plan for SR/A to join one or two architectural firms in partnership and be their de-facto ID division, presenting AE + ID together with their collaboration on the documentation. But above all, I plan to cultivate and celebrate the people of SR/A, the individuals who make up this extraordinary team and who are so dedicated and devoted to each other’s growth and the company’s success.
Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous 2021 to all!
– Sabine Roy, President + CEO