The Pandemic over a while has proven to be one of the most life-altering challenges for all. The impact has globally changed the perception of people in approaching their day to day life. Many countries are still in a quarantine phase for over a month or more. This has impacted on how we look towards housing and well, architecture as a whole. In the coming years, the impact of the pandemic and the change in the day to day lifestyle of people will prove to be an important framework on which Architecture as a discipline will be based, henceforth.
The pandemic has encouraged people to make small but impactful changes in their day to day life. People have now stopped using lifts due to the social distancing protocol. Which in turn will have to be upgraded, by providing lift designs that are more open and spacious to accommodate the stipulated amount of people as per the social distancing rules. People have started using pedestrian mode than their own vehicles. In the coming years, wider walkways and change in the road hierarchy will be seen with more focus towards the pedestrian movements. During this pandemic, a need to have resources within certain proximity is felt, such as grocery stores, medical shops, clinics, etc.
The Quarantine period has also made housing an important sector in everyone’s life. People are now spending an entire day within a confined walled space. The need to have semi-open zones such as balconies, flower beds, decks, etc. A housing unit that has a good balance of the interior and semi-open spaces has a positive and healthy impact on the inhabitants. Dim lit spaces which lack natural light or have small wall openings can make the interior atmosphere dull and thus, affect the user psychology. The idea of giving small and cramped spaces in the name of affordable housing won’t be an ideal option henceforth. As the pandemic will encourage people to stay indoors even after it has subsided, it won’t be healthy for a user to move around cramped spaces that lack habitability. Which in turn leaves the entire idea of ‘Affordable Housing’ with a question mark.
Even the societies or townships will now have to adopt self-sufficiency in services such as solar, water, electricity, etc. Urban farming for every housing unit to grow their own vegetables ensures hygiene and safety. Even the landscaping can be a crucial part, by using plants such as neem, Tulsi, etc. which are medicinal in nature can help in keeping the surrounding air clean and act as a natural disinfectant.
Communal gardens within a certain stipulated number of inhabitants to spend some time in open to sky areas can have a positive impact. Although the design of having single podium gardens or courtyards for the entire building won’t work as it would be crowded.
The housing units can also be rethought with spaces catering to multiple activities such as shifting walls or partition movable walls. This, in turn, helps in decreasing the monotony of space by designing it as per the activity.
Work from home is an important activity which will now be an integral part of the day to day life of the inhabitants. The study rooms or workspace nooks which were first regarded as secondary will now be a primary. The allocation of a designated workspace will be an important feature of a housing unit.
The entrance lobby of a housing unit will now be a crucial area. A separation of this zone with the other interior activities would be necessary to reduce the contact of the outer environment from the inner. The idea of an open plan with entrance lobby, living, kitchen, and dining area, has to be rethought.
Although this pandemic will have many altering changes in the lifestyle of each individual, Architecture can cater both at a micro and macro level to give urban solutions as per the changing times.
Architect and Interior Designer by profession, Writing is what she treats as her passion. She has worked as an Architectural Writer, Editor, and Journalist for various design as well as digital portals like ParametricArchitecture, FOAID (Festival of Architecture & Interior Design), Rethinking the Future (RTF), La Polo International, etc. Formerly she has also worked with Godrej Properties Limited (GPL) Design Studio, Mumbai due to her keen interested in learning about Sustainability and Green buildings. Apart from this, she runs her blog 'The Reader's Express'.
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