Thoughts On Post-Pandemic Living Spaces

No matter where in the world you’re self-isolating right now, we’re sure your life, like ours, has been fraught with compromise. Moving forward, as we all must do, requires continuing to adjust our expectations and to adopt new behaviors. As designers, we thought it might be interesting to make some predictions about the impact these new requirements might have on our future homes and home-life. 

 

Single Family Properties In Demand

Once a respite from work routines and urban landscapes, home has become a place in which to retreat from human interactions. This change runs counter to the design of multi-family dwellings like apartment buildings and condominiums. Sharing space is compulsory in communal living arrangements.

 

Source: Axios

Harris Poll CEO, John Gerzema told Axios, “Space now means something more than square feet. Already beset by high rents and clogged streets, the virus is now forcing urbanites to consider social distancing as a lifestyle.” We can imagine a world where some residents retract from cities and urban areas and turn their adopted suburbs, villages and coastlines (which they’ve been nesting in since this began) into a more permanent residential situation. 

 

Attention to Hygiene

In the not-so-distant past, health and hygiene were only given a passing consideration in designing most spaces. Certainly, in multi-story dwellings maximizing occupancy was usually top of the list. Now it will be imperative that we pay attention to what people touch. The focus should be on making surfaces which can be easily sanitized, or make things touchless when possible. 

 

Source: Apartment Therapy

Materials should be considered for their hygienic properties but also be aesthetically pleasing. We already know that copper and its alloys are proven to be destructive to the virus and bamboo has inherent antimicrobial properties. Both are delightful to look at and to touch. We predict the use of some of these in important traffic areas, like entryways. As a place to shed the outside – be it shoes and coats or through the use of a sanitizing station – the entryway has taken on greater significance and will need careful design and thoughtful material choice.

 

Shared + Individual Space

With global enterprises such as Google, Tata and others implementing sweeping employee de-densification, flex-space and permanent Work From Home status, property owners will quickly grow tired of propping their laptop up on a stack of old books in the corner of the living room. We anticipate a world where once expansive communal living spaces are permanently divided up into co-working studies and separate relaxation spaces. 

 

Source: HGTV

Systems as Security Measures

Whole house back-up generators, solar energy solutions and air purifiers will appear on more homeowners’ wish lists as they seek more control over their home environments. Architects will have to incorporate these and a host of other “what-if” measures into their designs.

 

Green Light Nature

Fresh air, sunlight and green space will need to be taken into consideration more than ever. These combined with proper ventilation, are important components to both physical and mental health. When your home is your whole world, nature will need to be brought into the design. This holds true for single family dwellings but more importantly for multi-unit buildings. Concrete courtyards might be swapped out for grass and plantings. Balconies will be a must-have. Designs that include a healthy dose of the outside matter more now.

 

Source: University of Washington

Embracing Change

Ultimately, we believe that the design of any new dwelling will have to consider the question,

“Does this use of space offer optimal functionality in the event of another pandemic?” We also believe this should be applied to the design for all socio-economic living environments.  Igarapé Institute founder Robert Muggah states in Foreign Policy, “The pandemic is exposing the quality of governance and scale of inequalities in our global cities. It is also providing an opportunity for urban planners and entrepreneurs to build back better.” On this front especially, we know there are no easy answers but it is good to start the conversation. 

Furthermore, the positive strides that have been gained in the health of our environment during this time are by far the most important changes we hope to see continue through every aspect of every business. Designers who continue to put the health of people and the planet first, will always win our support. 

 

Work It!

https://www.insider.com/people-sharing-photos-funny-work-from-home-spaces

 

Step Outside

chttp://www.chicagomag.com/real-estate/May-2020/Balconies-are-Good/

 

Can’t touch this

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiegold/2020/03/30/10-touchless-home-products-for-reduced-germ-spread/#1fbf66034cfb

 

Less Germs, More Style

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2020/03/29/from-fixtures-to-textiles-all-the-antimicrobial-decor-your-home-needs-right-now/#77ded0225996

 

 

As always, if you or other sustainable leaders within your personal network would like to explore possible floating home solutions, please share this content or reach out to us directly by clicking here : https://stephenswaring.com/immerst/  We’ll arrange a short consultative phone call to discuss your needs and explore partnership opportunities.