1. Design Response to Covid-19

4 Architectural Considerations for A Healthier and Safer Spaces and Places in a Post-Pandemic World

It seems that Covid-19 has turned our world upside down altering the way we travel through our environment, interact with others, etc, making us question everything as we look to the future.  Social norms are in question.  We now exist in a world where we must consider every point of contact for our bodies, with a new heightened sense of awareness. 

Both we as individuals and businesses will now have a differing perspective on priorities in all things; from micro to macro.  Businesses will need to rethink their interface with the public.  The healthcare industry must alter space priorities and begin thinking in terms of zones to prevent viral spread.  Virtually all hospitality services will augment to reduce points of physical contact with customers.

Innovative products are needed for a more hygienic and salubrious environment.

Innovative touchless product

Architects specialize in logistics, and have never been more crucial; we are naturally the problem solvers.  And we as professionals will need to try to stay a few steps ahead and begin to keep track of altered client requests while presenting clients with better and innovative products to anticipate the need for a more hygienic and salubrious environment.

Touchless designs and divided rooms might gain popularity for homes.

Touchless Faucet

Realtors are reporting some altered requests from clients searching for existing homes.  They are starting to ask for features such as hands free faucets, more requests for home offices, and more divided rooms rather than large expansive open floor plan.  It will be interesting to see which changes will have longevity. 

Hotels could rebound from the devastating impact by prioritizing guests’ safety and health.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott

The Hotel and hospitality industry may be exploring even more hygienic practices.  A Japanese hotel posted a black light video of their rooms on social media, and certainly some patrons may have heightened expectations, at least in the short term.  We may see a surge in popularity in hands free check-ins, and a reduction in face time.  This has other advantages for the customers who are busy or wish to maintain privacy.  Priorities seem to shift further away from the time when personal valets and butlers were more desirable.

Our dining-out experiences might be totally different in the future.

Restaurants may seek more hands-free mobility throughout their restaurants as we see a shift toward al fresco dining whenever feasible.  We are already seeing New York City and Seattle closing streets to cars in order to re-capture street space for outside dining.  In lower density urban areas restaurants are beginning to reduce indoor capacity while taking advantage of expansive parking areas to re-capture some room for additional patron seating.  As well, restaurants that happen to be equipped with overhead doors are opening them up to increase the flow of fresh air into the restaurants.    

Melissa Wright Powers has a NCARB accredited 5 year Bachelor of Architecture from Kansas State University. She has held positions on the City of Topeka’s Mayor’s ADA Advisory Council, Kansas Historic Free State Capitol Board of Directors, Jayhawk Theatre Board of Directors, served on the Heartland Visioning Task Force, served as an associate member of the American Institute of Architects- Topeka Board, KSU Architecture Department Student Advisory Council representative, among her professional merits.

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