How Designers Are Responding To Crisis

Designers all over the world are rethinking ways to face critical issues during the coronavirus outbreak. Not just the current scenario of the pandemic, designers can help reimagine structures that can help areas prone to natural disasters, extreme climatic impact or situations like mass migration, medical emergencies. Quick construction of temporary or permanent compact units can help with emergency shelter providing all the basic necessities and health care.

Architecture dealing with Medical Crisis

Rapid construction can be done through the process of adaptive reuse to help to create hospital units for mass treatment. Abandoned shipping containers, prefabricated modules, temporary timber or metal constructions can be used to create intensive care units. Modular structures can be transported anywhere in the emergent need of crisis. Abandoned buildings, hotels have been converted into isolation units. Large scale hospitals can be constructed within days with the help of prefabrication.

Throughout history, the medical crisis has forced architects to rethink new innovations in urban design. For instance, the cholera epidemic completely changed the way cities were planned. Urban areas were introduced with new plumbing and sewer systems, sanitary standards for better hygienic living. The current COVID-19 pandemic might lead to creating new designs that can quickly switch to a different use in case of emergency. Better design helps in reducing the crowd, which is the key factor in spreading epidemics or any kind of contagious infection.

At airports, security screening needs to be done in a way that passengers aren’t forced to wait together in crowded areas. Hospitals can be designed efficiently to control the outbreak of infectious diseases so that patients, as well as doctors, are not prone to the spreading of the virus. The idea is not to create social distant spaces for the future, but to help in maintaining a healthy environment for the people living in society.

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Disaster Management Architecture

The immediate shelter is the first requirement of any post-disaster event until permanent structures are constructed. The time between the temporary and permanent structures is usually two to six months which means organized systems of living are required during a difficult time. Post-disaster construction provides an opportunity to create better designs that are resilient and sustainable for the future. The needs of users and communities are taken into account with their cultural, social and environmental contexts.

Disaster management architecture can be looked upon through two different points of view: one is designed for the prevention of potential disaster and others would-be how architecture responds in helping communities after any disastrous event. Architects can help in preparing communities for potential disaster and their designs should involve measures to reduce the impact of hazards so there would be no need to rebuild structures and houses for shelter. When risks are addressed ahead of time, the potential for unsalvageable damage is decreased. Construction of buildings and spaces that can resist earthquakes, fire hazards, winds and tornadoes, coastal disasters are important. Better building materials, advanced technologies have helped in preventing extreme consequences of disasters occurring.

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Crisis Because of Climate Change

Climate emergency demands new ways to design and think of the environment around us. The concentration of CO2 has been increasing in the environment since the age of industrialization. Effects of climate change are highly dangerous leading to events like wildfire, floods, intense storms, hurricanes, and other extreme conditions.

Architects all over the world are trying to find more and more ways to reduce carbon-intensive technology, low consumption energy systems, ways to recycle or reuse material used in construction. Renewable energy like solar and geothermal sources is incorporated in buildings which can result in net-zero environments.

Design and architecture can make better changes in our lives. It can help in making living more organized and motivated for the future ahead of us.

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Shreya Jindal
Shreya Jindal
Shreya Jindal is an Architecture student from MBS school of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. She has an avid interest in learning about new advances and innovations in the field. According to her, Architecture is a lot about understanding the psychology of the built form and the people and surroundings around it. She has tried her best to reflect the same in her writings and is hopeful that readers will be inspired by how architecture evolves living.

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