In 2020, an unprecedented wave of uncertainty hit us—the coronavirus pandemic has gravely affected our lifestyles;
How and where we live, work and play have been stripped down to the core and turned upside down almost overnight.
Our homes have become our workplaces, exercise arenas and playgrounds. Some have found out the hard way during this pandemic about the importance of design and the value of space.
Astee Lim, BOA registered architect, LEED Accredited Professional and certified Green Mark Manager with 10 years of experience in sustainability consultancy, gave her insights in FuturArc 3Q 2019 issue, where she detailed why building owners can no longer afford to ignore the demand for the well-being of occupants.
For instance, biophilic design and good indoor environmental quality are parallel concepts in both arenas. These include elimination of tobacco smoking, mitigation of pollution during construction, meeting minimum fresh air rates.
Green spaces in the form of landscaped garden, providing a significant contribution to the overall health and welfare of the family. Architectural features such as large windows achieve a recommended 12-per-cent daylight factor into the indoor environment.
The physical needs of residents are addressed by having playing fields and swimming pools promoting wellness. Plants are designed to extend the vibrancy of residents’ lifestyles.
The first spaces that will be represented in the new design will be the ones that offer more possibilities and until this moment were still not being completely used and taken advantage of: Rooftops.
Rooftops will be thought of as an area to work out or even to create urban gardens.
It will be an area even for sunbath with lots of privacy and even sitting with family for relaxation time.
The buildings will look for more natural light and better sunning. The lock down has made us be more conscious that a balcony, a terrace or a patio in our homes gives us life. For that reason, architects and designers will try to maximize the private outdoor space built in a home.
Building entryways will also be affected. The digital transformation and peak of online business will make conventional mailboxes disappear and in their place there will be lockers so deliverymen can place packages in them.
Elevators will become more technological, who knows if with facial recognition or with contactless buttons so you can go up to the floor you are going to and don’t have to touch anything at all.
Natural ventilation is coming back as a valuable commodity.
In our opinion, there would be more balconies, terraces or elevated gardens on building facades to provide fresh air and act as break spaces.
Perhaps, the new design preferences will slowly transform the sleek all-glass building aesthetic to a facade skyline with punctuated open terraces and balconies.
In Interior design, given the same budget, a bigger floor area is going to be preferred over luxury finishes to avoid close contact. Besides balconies, perhaps office spaces will need to be provided in home layouts to house a home office.
In addition, the typical floor layout with lesser number of units per floor, wider corridors and creative lobby layout is a must to maintain social distancing.
There’s already rising interest in biophilic design, the incorporation of nature into the built environment. Some architects see this as a renaissance in design thinking and practice.
Biophilic design removes or reduces anxiety in people, primarily through an emphasis on nature or design with natural features.
Engaging with nature even just visually improves how we feel, affects mental health, so visual engagement may become more important. Given that there could be a growing preference for proximity to nature, because we see it as more healthy and less of a health risk, it’s likely that biophilic design will be of more interest to the design community.
It will probably become a greater part in architecture, more mainstream, part of collective architectural thinking.
What is sure is that, the process of adaptation has begun and now it is our turn as architects to take the reins of this change, humanize buildings and be able to take advantage of our design by thinking in our client’s well-being.
The change has begun,
Now we need to adapt!