Will the remote work craze sparked by COVID-10 sound a death knell for office buildings?

Elliott Holt was always firmly opposed to letting employees work from home.

“There’s no control over it,” says the CEO of a Nashville-based medical records company. “We like to be in control.”

With MediCopy growing at breakneck speed, its work-in-the office ethos spelled a feverish expansion of its physical presence in Nashville. After adding a second office two years ago, the firm was poised to lease a third last month.

But since the coronavirus pandemic has forced nearly all of MediCopy’s 200 employees to work from home, Holt has had an abrupt change of heart. He says he’ll let staffers continue to telecommute for the long term, prompting him to relinquish both of the additional offices, convert his headquarters into a training center, and save $350,000 a year in leasing costs.

“Things are working the way they are,” he says.

Elliott Holt, CEO of MediCopy

As states lift stay-at-home

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How algorithms are designing better buildings

When giant blobs began appearing on city skylines around the world in the late 1980s and 1990s, it marked not an alien invasion but the impact of computers on the practice of building design.

Thanks to computer-aided design (CAD), architects were able to experiment with new organic forms, free from the restraints of slide rules and protractors. The result was famous curvy buildings such as Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Future Systems’ Selfridges Department Store in Birmingham.

Today, computers are poised to change buildings once again, this time with algorithms that can inform, refine and even create new designs. Even weirder shapes are just the start: algorithms can now work out the best ways to lay out rooms, construct the buildings and even change them over time to meet users’ needs. In this way, algorithms are giving architects a whole new toolbox with which to realise

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