In another time, not long ago, an elevator was a conveyance to reach a higher floor, an open office was a spot to clock eight hours while hoping your boss didn’t catch you checking Facebook and a doorknob was one of those banalities of architecture that seemed to warrant attention only when it needed replacing.
What a difference a virus makes.
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Instead, many of the architects I spoke with visualize once-cavernous spaces segmented into more intimately scaled settings with small clusters of desks. “We work in teams, so it’s easy to think of people in groups,” says Paul Danna, a design partner in the L.A. office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, a global firm at work on an office development in Pasadena. “It’s a matter of putting barriers between groups as opposed to every individual.”