2021: Stepping into a Better Normal

by Anna Pravinata, AIA, NOMA, AIA Minnesota President

Hello 2021! I breathed a big sigh of relief as I closed the book on 2020. It is a new year where the new “normal” feels less overwhelming and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Spring will come, vaccines will be available, and new ways of working (remote work, flexible hours, etc.) will be much more acceptable.

Early in the pandemic, almost everybody wanted to go back to “normal.” After settling into new routines as the pandemic progressed, almost everybody said, “let’s define a new normal.” I take this to mean a routine where we leave behind the worst and take the best of the old normal.

In 2021, I imagine that my new normal will have:

  • Balance between remote, focused work at home and in-person collaboration;
  • Regular breaks in the middle of a workday to go outside and breathe fresh air;
  • The absence of a daily commute during rush hour; and
  • Deeper and more meaningful connections with colleagues after almost a year of “zooming” into their homes

I also imagine that the new normal for the design community will thrive where design excellence means a new and holistic way of designing the built environment. It will incorporate the ten measures of the AIA Framework for Design Excellence, will put equitable design front and center, will be inclusive in its process, and will produce just design solutions.

The new normal for the profession will encourage authenticity, equity and collaboration and create ways to make sure that intent matches impact. I am optimistic that 2021 will be the year to bring all of these visions closer to reality, and I ask you to join me on this journey!

Cheers to 2021 and I thank all of you for the opportunity to serve as your president.

View the January 2021 edition of Matrix.