Still closer to the beginning than the end?

It’s difficult to ask that question without sounding like a ‘the end of the world is nigh’ doom-monger. But it’s important to do so if we believe that any investment any of us make as a result of the coronavirus pandemic should achieve the best solution for the best value when weighed against the timeframe of its usefulness.

It was one of the questions we asked ourselves before we approached O’DonnellBrown to partner with them on the development of their Community Classroom design. Was a Community Classroom (which we now call CC20 Studio) a solution that had longevity? Or would schools be better off adopting a temporary solution on the assumption that it would no longer be needed come September?

We now know, of course, that Government guidelines suggest that physical distancing will not be required in schools from September. But we also know that “less than half of Britons now trust the Westminster government to provide correct information on the pandemic”. So should our decisions be based on what many of us do not believe? Or should we trust both our instincts as well as what scientists tell us? Professor Gabriel Scally of Independent Sage, the group of independent scientists looking at the government’s response to the pandemic for example, suggested this weekend that “we are at a fork in the road” – we have a choice that we continue the way we’re going with no strategy, or instead to decide that we will make the UK and the island of Ireland virus free. Hong Kong, meanwhile, re-closed all its schools last Friday.

We felt that there were some fundamental aspects of western culture that would change permanently as a result of the pandemic. Sure there are lots of people who ‘just want to get back to normal’. But there are many others too who see the pandemic as a catalyst for change. That it’s an opportunity to get back closer to nature, to live healthier, less frenetic lives, and take less for granted.

When we looked at O’DonnellBrown’s Community Classroom that’s what we saw. A natural timber structure, bathed in light in the fresh air but sheltered from the wind and rain. We loved it, and from it we’ve created the CC20 Studio. We hope you love it too.