How will buildings change in a post-pandemic?
Design has an important role to play, we must rethink how to design and build more resilient, healthy and sustainable. We think that our cities will not be the same post-pandemic.
Do we want to continue living with social distancing or will we seek equilibrium through design decisions? We embrace solutions that support our knowledge and abilities to provide support and design strategies:
Floor Plans and Movement: we can rethink layouts to readapt flows and specific areas to provide a more hygienic environment, promote active living and add an outdoor space to make the indoor environment healthier. One obvious area is to rethink shared facilities, building entrance and common areas where visitors congestion and transmission risk may be elevated.
Material selections: we must prioritise materials that are resistant to mold and easy to maintain. We can also leverage non-porous materials that are also anti-microbial. There are lessons to be learned from the performance of materials when exposed to these cleaners and disinfectants used during public health crises such as Covid-19 outbreak.
Hands-free environments: we have the ability to design for all space that support freedom of movement to work hands-free including lighting systems, faucets and dispenser sensor, automatic toilets, automated blind systems, sliding-swing automatic door opening. Access Control for elevators can be easier integrated with Card Reader or Mobile Access. This solutions will not be unnecessary, but they will be essential requirements of the private/public spaces management. We have the ability to design spaces that support freedom of movement.
Hand wash and Sanitation: We can consider and rethink increasing sinks in kitchens, creating separation, cleaning products and sanitizer station that we can apply to indoor/outdoor environments to ensure there is always cleaning protocols.
Humidity and Air Ventilation: every building must be designed in such a way that shape and material of building minimises the use of mechanical ventilating and cooling systems installed to achieve optimum energy efficient. We must consider ways to ensure high levels of indoor air quality and maintain an optimal range of humidity to dilute airborne contaminants.
Light, Sound and Thermal Comfort: the best practice of acoustical design of a space through the identification and mitigation of acoustical comfort parameters that shape occupant experiences in the built environment health and well-being. Exposure to light aims to create lighting environments that are optimal for human health and well-being. Thermal comfort is linked to our health and productivity and is one of the highest contributing factors influencing overall the satisfaction in place we live and work by meeting individual thermal preferences. We can consider to implements design that support positively impact the short and long term mental status of individuals by incorporating the natural environment through interior and exterior design.
These strategies will be part of the planning and design of all our projects. One aspect that is sure because the cost to prioritise high-tech solutions is minimal compared to the price of having lockdown cities due to contamination. We think that our cities will not be the same post-pandemic, spaces needs to be readapt as results that contagion may turn out to be chronic treat for our communities. We are up to the challange. What do you think?