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Inter-pandemic architecture

Inter-pandemic architecture

As the world adapts to the ever-changing landscape emerging from the inter-pandemic existence we now find ourselves in, the field of architecture is being called upon to reshape our spaces as we look ahead to a post-pandemic world.

While a physical demonstration of change can be slow in the field of architecture, the debate within the architectural community is now well underway. Designers and architects are sharing ideas, initiatives and design proposals that would help us spatially navigate the ‘new normal’; using our current challenges to embrace new inventions, philosophies and practical solutions for everyday life.

But what form will this new architecture take? We take a closer look at the potential developments that may impact on the design and construction of our housing... 

Energy-efficiency

Image: Devon Passivhaus, McLean Quinlan

The buildings of the future will strive to be proud and independent, and integral energy-efficiency within the construction of housing cannot fail to climb the agenda in response to the increased amount of time spent at home. 

London-based architect Tara Gbolade works in both the residential and the sustainability realm and puts forward that this pandemic will change the way we think on both fronts. "The quality of housing must adapt, as we continue to spend more time in our homes. This argues for far more energy-efficient homes – and responding to both embodied and operational energy (therefore advocating for higher standards such as Passivhaus as we strive to meet net-zero carbon standards)." 

Passivhaus is the leading international low energy, design standard; it is a highly effective way of providing high standards of occupant comfort and health as well as reducing energy use and carbon emissions from buildings in the UK.

Developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany, its international influence is increasing with more energy-efficient dwellings such as the linear red brick Devon Passivhaus emerging.

Architects Mclean Quinlan took inspiration from the walled garden surroundings for this build, executing a clean and simple design which is certified Passivhaus. The property includes air source heating, MVHR, solar power, battery storage, super-insulation and triple-glazing throughout, to provide over 100% of required energy. A house designed and constructed with a sustainable future in mind.    

Safety first

Image: IDA

With the more immediate future in mind, new concepts for adapting our existing homes to the new realities have already started to emerge, with the announcement of the winner of the Covid-19 Design Innovation Grant by the International Design Awards (IDA).

Designer Sarah Goldblatt has created a concept for an in-home isolation pod. The low cost, easily assembled Safe Shed, offers residents the ability to self-isolate safely from others in a single household upon the appearance of symptoms.

A type of design and problem-solving we might never have anticipated we'd need, but one that champions the power of human inventiveness to adapt and evolve. 

Smart homes

Image: Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

From the existing smart light bulbs and thermostats that think for themselves to Bluetooth door locks, wireless security cameras, and all manner of sensors, home automation technology may look to extend its reach. 

Programs will not only control the temperature of the air in the house, but also its quality and, if necessary, they will automatically clean it. Air from the outside will be filtered. Additionally, homes could be equipped with a lamp that generates ultraviolet radiation, which can kill some harmful organisms, viruses and bacteria.

Cleaning rooms and separate entrance areas featuring antiseptic dispensers so we don't carry dirt into the living quarters could also become the new entryway to these smart homes.

The architecture of the future will look to embrace the aspects of twenty-first-century technology that can protect both the physical building and its occupants' health.  

Home office

The concept of 'going to work' for many has irrevocably changed. The possibilities of homeworking have been blown wide open and the field of architecture will need to take note both at home and in business. 

More attention will be given to the arrangement of the workplace at home. Spatial organisation will change, with a dedicated, long-term solution necessary - half of the dining room table and a spare desk chair will no longer suffice. 

Houses will need to be designed to incorporate a technically equipped, sound-insulated home office with large windows and space for ergonomic, comfortable furniture. 

And in turn, the design of offices will require more effort and ingenuity to win a portion of the workforce back...

 

Header image: Devon Passivhaus, McLean Quinlan 

 

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