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Architects Share Predictions for the Future of Design After COVID-19

It’s an opportunity to make spaces more beautiful and healthy.

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It’s no secret that life will change in some way after the spread of coronavirus subsides. Everything from travel to work arrangements will be altered. And the same is true for architecture and design. The pandemic and resulting shutdown will have a lasting impact on how people think about their home, business, and city environments.

“We have been forced to hit pause,” Marianne McKenna, founding partner of Toronto-based KPMB Architects, told Departures. “This is an opportunity to rethink everything—how we build cities and communities to be even more resilient, healthy, beautiful, green, and creative. As architects, we can ideate and advocate for a future where the world is in harmony with nature.”

Here several architects and designers share their predictions of what design could look like in the future.

Increased Personal Space in Public Spaces

“In general we wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the general planning standards for the design of public space shift to reflect better what I’m sure will be the new way of doing things—increase personal space,” said Joe Yacobellis, Associate and Director of Design at Mojo Stumer. “For example, when we currently design an assembly hall for a certain number of people within a certain number of square feet, we may start to rethink those standards and how people will really behave in public settings. Seating layouts will likely become much more spacious. Furthermore, the design will favor touchless tech features, like we’ve seen in automated sinks in public restrooms.”

More Touchless Technology

“In high-traffic environments like offices, retail, and multifamily buildings, touchless options like voice control and keycard swiping will largely eliminate the need to touch buttons physically and other surfaces,” said Hans Baldauf, co-founding principal at BCV Architecture + Interiors.

Using Antimicrobial Materials

“We expect to see greater use of antimicrobial building materials in future design, like Lapitec, copper, and krion for countertops and bathroom finishes,” said Yacobellis. “Another great aseptic product is Richlite, which we have used previously for building facades, wall panels, countertops, and furniture, as it is a great alternative for stone and metal applications and is highly sustainable and durable.”

Mudrooms Will Return

“Our design model trends will certainly get flipped upside down,” said Adam Meshberg, Founder and Principal of Meshberg Group. “We will see the return of the vestibule mudroom. This will change the open floor trend to include secluded self-disinfecting rooms.”

Biophilic Design Will Be in Demand

“This extended period of isolation will lead to an even more pronounced focus on wellness and longing for connections to nature,” said Baldauf. “Architects will increasingly consider how homes, offices, and other environments can promote wellbeing by incorporating elements of nature.”


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