Over the past year, the team at Patuxent Architects has been considering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on architecture. Throughout history, we have seen examples of the way fast-spreading diseases like tuberculosis and typhoid have changed the way buildings and homes were constructed. Architects added large windows to let in more light and used more easy-to-clean materials such as tile. They even used more of the color white in places like hospitals to give a more clean and sanitary appearance.
The Coronavirus will undoubtedly have long-lasting impacts on the way spaces are designed and occupied. Houses and commercial buildings can be designed to accommodate our world of social distancing, quarantining, and learning and working from home.
For homes, we imagine many homeowners and builders will incorporate more porches and stoops as a place that will allow for interactions with visitors from a safe distance. For the same reason, outdoor areas in general will have new importance to allow for safer entertaining. Virus-resistant materials, such as copper, will be used with more frequency. Air filtration and recirculation will be another important consideration for keeping families healthier, especially in homes where aging seniors or people with existing medical conditions reside. Finally, more emphasis will be placed on home offices or work areas in floorplans to allow for work-from-home and virtual learning.
On the commercial front, we anticipate similar changes. Restaurants have been greatly impacted by the pandemic, and have relied on take-out customers. New or renovated restaurant spaces will likely incorporate larger areas for those waiting on take-out orders and for the employees who manage that portion. For the dine-in areas, the most important factor will be maximizing the number of seats while making sure that parties remain at least six feet apart. With increased attention on sanitizing, businesses in general may incorporate more hand washing and sanitizing stations. Offices will likely shy away from open concept floorplans in order to keep employees separate. We also predict that there will be fewer and fewer in-person meetings, thus fewer conference rooms. Ensuring the building is equipped with the latest technology to allow for zoom meetings and digital collaboration will be of utmost importance.
Of course, only time will tell us exactly how (and for how long) this pandemic will affect our homes and business spaces. However, the professionals at Patuxent Architects are already adapting and coming up with creative new designs for our world today. Contact us to discuss your new build or renovation.