Many colleagues are currently working in their home offices, exchanging information by telephone or video conferencing. Nevertheless, we all miss the opportunity to meet other colleagues in the hallway or in the kitchen. That’s why we are shifting “kitchen conversations” to the digital. Today we introduce Samira Aden. She is an architect and works in the Consulting office for building-integrated Photovoltaics(BAIP) at HZB.

How did you establish your home office?

Fortunately, I asked my sister shortly before the shutdown if she would like to move in with me for a while. She is doing her doctorate in educational science in Kassel. We have set up the living room as a coworking space and the kitchen is for a break. I really do pretend to go to work every morning, put on suitable clothes and then start the day with a cup of coffee, just like in the office.

What are your tasks and how have they changed?

One of my main tasks is to advise architects. I do that online and on the phone. Our long planned workshops for architects have all been cancelled. We have an unbelievable number of requests and we will hopefully resume the workshops soon – possibly digitally for the time being. I am now working on new content and concepts.
I am now also reading more deeply into the political and legal framework at national and European level. It is a difficult read and it is good to take time for it. After all, these frameworks are decisive in determining whether planners and architects are at all prepared to shoulder a certain amount of extra work. In fact, the increased requirements for energy efficiency and climate protection that the EU is making have still not really reached all architects.

In our training courses, we explain in detail what technical and, in particular, design options are offered by building-integrated photovoltaics. We also appeal to the ambition to design new and aesthetically convincing solutions that are truly climate-neutral.

What do you find particularly difficult?

I always want to do something, and in the event of this pandemic I cannot act directly here for the time being. But I now have a private project on which I am working together with other architects and doctors from Italy, England, Germany, Tanzania and Somalia: it’s about an architecture emergency plan for the Covid case in Somalia, where the pandemic is unfortunately now spreading. For example, we are designing mobile and energy self-sufficient solutions for test centers and treatment rooms that can be set up as quickly and inexpensively as possible. We only started doing this two weeks ago and we want to start implementing it soon and build a test center.

Is there anything you want to continue with, even if you can go back to the office?

I like going to the office very much, but I also notice that I can familiarize myself particularly well with new topics here at home. It’s a bit like the university library: the home office is very suitable for learning and deepening.

And what activities are you particularly looking forward to when the restrictions are relaxed?
Swimming. I love swimming, that’s what I miss the most.