Architects are going to be asked to solve a lot of problems in the post-COVID-19 world. The pandemic has created a population skeptical of safety, reluctant to work in traditional environments, and longing for connection to outdoor areas that also provide privacy. It’s a tall order, and fortunately, architects have been laying the groundwork for this type of change for many years.
Here are four questions that architects will answer in the post-pandemic era.
How Will Home Design Change?
Homes have now become the 24-hour sanctuaries to many that have moved to the work-from-home (WFH) model. Homes are not just our livings spaces; they are also our workspaces. This increases the value of multiuse areas, think of a nook that can be repurposed as an office or a smaller bedroom that might be the desk place of two individuals.
Orientation, natural light, and airflow will influence these multiuse areas.
The ability to adapt and convert home spaces into multiple-use areas will be a priority for new and existing homes.
How Will Design Incorporate Social Distancing?
Commercial and public buildings and spaces must now emphasis the concept of social distancing. Populations are skeptical of the safety of crowded spaces and common areas that used to be so normal.
Density planning will be a priority, and we’ll see fewer high-density offices and work environments as work-from-home become the mainstream model.
Social distancing will not just impact the planning of work and business spaces but also waiting areas where people converge and passageways and thoroughfares to and from areas of a building. These, too, will need to be thoughtfully designed.
Will Building Materials Change?
Surface areas for living and working environments will need to be updated to include materials that do not promote the growth and spread of diseases. This may include simple items, like the replacement of fabric window coverings, using smart glass instead.
An emphasis will be on antimicrobial material that inhibits the ability of microorganisms to grow. Copper, already known for its antimicrobial property, will be more widely used as will other material for walls, floors, door handles, and worktops.
Architects will also need to consider other areas like the reduction of surface areas (reducing areas where germs can land and live) and installing appropriate ventilation systems.
How Will Building Processes Change?
Modular construction will increase in popularity. Although used for years, the modular construction technique, which emphasizes a process of building using assembling prefabricated modules, will become more mainstream. Modular construction minimizes human interaction and limits exposure of the prefabricated components as they are held in their assembly spaces until ready to use.
Onsite work, like site prep and finishing, will be more time consuming as social distancing will be a concern. Schedules will need to adjust to balance the work to be done and the density of the workforce.
Architects will play an important role in the post-COVID era
As the world begins to open, and we adjust to the “new normal” of life after the pandemic, architects will be needed even more than in the past. Where style, design, and comfort may have been top of mind thoughts about an architect’s role in the past, those will be replaced with safety, security, and versatile design.
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