What impact will COVID19 have on architecture?

08/06/2020

What impact will COVID19 have on architecture?

COVID19 pandemic will have a great impact on many areas, including architecture. The current health crisis has brought new challenges regarding the level of design and urban planning, affecting mainly public spaces’ sustainability.

Architects Juan Herreros and José María Sánchez García have been interviewed by Architectural Digest magazine, where they explained that  coronavirus "will generate changes in public space and will open up the opportunity to regenerate our cities so both society and architects must start thinking about spaces in a more flexible way".

For them, it is clear that we are currently going through a period of consideration in which the impact of COVID19 is still very recent. However, they have already some findings: "Now we will take into account criteria of biological quality in our cities and air quality".

Fernando Espinosa de los Monteros, Founding Partner of EM&A Espinosa de los Monteros & Arquitectos Asociados, advocates for promoting healthy architecture, and also for generating a public debate to add "the most appropriate conclusions to make our lives safer, more hygienic and easier; in short, healthy".

It seems obvious that the impact of the virus has such magnitude that it forces to rethink many aspects. For that reason, it is necessary to generate debate and analysis not only within the industry, but also as a society in order to figure out the way to face it.

Sustainable architecture, a growing trend before the global pandemic

Promoting healthy spaces was already trendy before the outbreak of COVID19 , known as sustainable architecture.

As the architectural firm Arquima explains, it consists of "using only environmentally friendly techniques and materials during the construction process, taking into account the building conditions, incorporating them into the design whenever possible, and seeking to minimize the negative impact of the buildings through efficient energy consumption and development space".

Therefore, a definition that fits with the current challenges discussed to promote a more environmentally friendly architecture that benefits people's health.

However for Mirén León, expert in this kind of architecture, it is clear that although sustainable architecture is the way forward, it will also have to be refocused to promote design that is adaptable and builds through the principles of the circular economy. She even lists some of the techniques for this: accessibility, selection of materials, reuse, layered design, design without waste, design for adaptability, design for dismantling, 3d printing and upcycling.

Ultimately, these are different agents that raise up the need to generate a broad debate to redirect architecture, which surely, as they all say, involves adopting sustainable measures that benefit people's health.

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