RIBAJ investigates: ‘Building up a practice is a challenge enough. But can the disruption caused by something like a pandemic be turned to advantage?’ Penoyre & Prasad Principal Mark Rowe joined the conversation.

Changes in government policy can also create significant disruption to practice workflow, as Penoyre & Prasad discovered in 2010 when the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was abruptly stopped. ‘We survived because we had our feet in several sectors,’ says principal Mark Rowe, ‘but also because we weren’t siloed. Our practice structure was fluid enough to adapt.’

This flexibility has seen the practice through more recent disruption, first when it merged with Perkins and Will in late 2019, and of course during the current pandemic. ‘We’ve now spent more time working in lockdown than we had in our new shared space,’ he ­continues. ‘But to me the effect has actually been to bring the wider team closer. Adversity has had a bonding effect and helped us to continue developing our new working culture.’

Emma Keyte & Rachel Birchmore | The RIBA Journal | 7 July 2020