Reference:MODLAR | Updated:27 May 2021
Every day, we are inundated with architecture, from the homes we live in to our places of work, shops and restaurants, and the structures we see day-to-day. But like so many other areas of our lives, the vast majority of the architectural space has been hit by the impact of the pandemic, with structures and building developments on hold in various locations. Going forward, as lockdown measures begin to lift and life returns to a new normal, how might COVID-19 impact and shape the architecture sector?
Even once lockdown has been lifted on a more permanent basis, social distancing measures are likely to be in place for some time to come. With this in mind, we're likely to spend far more time at home going forward. Architects not only need to consider how the pandemic is impacting us currently, but also in the future. This means incorporating practical concerns into plans and designs, and paying attention to the insights provided by the users of the buildings. It isn't the first time in history that buildings and cities have been redesigned in light of illness or disease, and it's a challenge that the architects of today will also need to take on when they reconfigure public spaces such as hotels, hospitals and airports.
The architectural field has to adapt to new ways of working, not only within their own teams but also when working with the likes of electricians, plumbers, and glaziers. Adhering to safe working guidelines is critical for everyone involved in the design and development of buildings, and architecture teams need to create ways of working that keep everyone safe and minimise the spread of diseases. From a greater reliance on virtual conference calls to utilising technology to collaborate, the work carried out by large teams of staff need to be made more flexible and adaptive.
Workplaces are highly likely to undergo makeovers to make them safer areas to work in, from the way we enter buildings to the office layouts themselves. The likes of automatic temperature checks, sanitisation stations, touch-free lifts, and wider walkways are all design features that architects will need to consider when designing spaces in the future. Open-plan offices are likely to diminish in popularity and there'll be a greater importance on providing workers with enhanced ventilation to keep offices and work areas safer.
The general public has already adopted more automation as a result of COVID-19, and that won't disappear even once lockdowns are over. From touch-less technology, such as automatic doors and voice-activated facilities, to hands-free light switches and temperature controls, businesses will be far more careful going forward about how spaces are operated, both by staff and by visitors. It will be the job of specialists within the architectural field to find solutions to our everyday tasks that can maintain safety and mitigate disease. Likewise, self-cleaning bathrooms, antibacterial surfaces and modular spaces that can be sealed off from others are likely to be commonplace in the near future.
Urban design is another area of our lives that's likely to change as a result of the pandemic, with some suggesting that architects may begin to design smaller venues and open spaces that will help to alleviate density of crowds going forward. Other changes that we could see more of is a greater number of security lanes for check-in procedures in public buildings or airports, which would help to reduce congestion and create an easier flow of people. The design of hospitals will also see changes to ensure that patient rooms are more flexible in order to increase capacity and to make them easier to convert into ICU at a moment's notice.
The world has been shaken by the impact of COVID-19 and businesses and industries have had to adapt on a global scale. Architecture is one of the core industries that will need to shake up its practices and design ideas in order to meet the demands of the pandemic, not just now but also preparing for the consequences of the virus as well. To accommodate our new normal, architects will need to be more innovative and creative than ever before to design spaces that allow for social distancing, to adopt practices that enable safer work practices and to make everyday life easier when we return to a standard routine.