A home is one of the most significant architectural typologies that we experience throughout our lives. Largely serving as a significant private space, a home represents safety, ownership, and a sense of respite away from the rest of the world. It’s also historically been a place of routine, where we both begin and end our day, following the same patterns through different rooms of a home that we utilize. We can expect to sleep in our bedrooms, relax in a living room, cook in a kitchen, and eat in a dining room.
Coronavirus: The Latest Architecture and News
March 20, 2020: I am in New York, “the epicenter of Covid-19,” the news on TV keeps blaring, as if proud of the achievement. New York has always been excessive, so why not now? More cases, more hospitalizations, more ICU admissions, more intubations, more deaths. The news is terrifying and at the same time completely at odds with the day-to-day experience of the city, which has become so strangely quiet, so peaceful. No traffic, no construction noise, no annoying car alarms, no random screams in the middle of the night. Even the ambulances are mostly silent without cars to fight against.
As cities keep growing and daily realities quickly shift, people turn to new and ever-changing ways to maintain their well-being. While the promotion of active lifestyles has been the focus of many Planners and Architects (Pedestrian/ bike-friendly cities, parks or fitness/ sports centers) aiming to support Human comfort and health, recent times have shown that these publicly coveted facilities might not always be accessible.
The solution is as clear as day. In fact, if you’re not engaging in it nowadays, you’re probably witnessing those around you working out from home or even offices. Workplaces have been also adapting their interior spaces, having designated areas and equipment available for those eager to take a break from work.
As the city continues to evolve and transform, dead edges in the cityscape begin to emerge, subsequently reducing the level of activity in our built environment. These 'dead edges' refer to the areas that lack active engagement, they remain empty and deprived of people, since they no longer present themselves as useful or appealing. As the Covid-19 pandemic draws to an ultimate close, the first issue we may face post-pandemic is to revive our urban environment. A kiss of life into a tired and outdated cityscape...
The focal element in creating an active and healthy urban environment is by increasing vitality through placemaking. Creating diverse and interesting places to reside, thrive, and work. Here are five regenerative strategies that animate the cityscape and ultimately produce resilient, attractive, and flexible environments.
Metropolitans take pride in their storied cultural venues, the chroniclers of intellectual acumen and architectural achievement. While these icons revel in their ornate design, immersive grandiosity, and dramatic acoustics, the pandemic has introduced numerous challenges to the rules of assembly.
Recognizing changes in the rituals of attending a show—from procession and gathering to engagement—architects and cultural leaders are designing the next generation of performance venues while asking the question: How does architecture solve issues raised by a building’s inherent purpose? Is it possible to maintain the essence of a venue through gentle yet effective changes in people’s habits? The answers seem to rely on updating the auditorium culture (which dates as far back as the Colosseum) with contemporary design solutions rooted in new technologies.
Cities have always been a stage for transformations. The directions, the flows, the different ways of using the spaces, the desires, all change and give way to new places and needs. Such richness provides the city with an innovative and mutable character, but it also implies demand for more flexible architecture in terms of the functional program and structure. Especially during the past year, we have witnessed - at breakneck speed - great changes in the cities and urban spaces. The pandemic brought new paradigms that suddenly disrupted long-established norms. Houses became offices, offices became deserts, hotels turned into health facilities, and stadiums turned into hospitals. Meanwhile, architecture has had to reveal its flexibility to support purposes that could not be foreseen. This adaptability seems to have become the key to creating spaces that are coherent with our current lifestyle and the speed of modern times.
On a clear fall day in 2005, a group of friends and collaborators from the art collective Rebar commandeered an 8-foot-wide by 20-foot-long metered parking space in downtown San Francisco. This two-hour guerilla art installation evolved into Park(ing) Day, a global public art and design activism event that has been celebrated every year since. In 2009, Rebar and other design studios were approached by the City of San Francisco to prototype a more permanent version of Park(ing) Day. In response, we created one of the world’s first parklets in San Francisco (we called our version walklet), and through the diligent efforts of Andres Power in the Mayor’s Office and City Planning, San Francisco’s pioneering parklet program was born.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on for over a year now, so people have consequently been traveling less, and tourism has slowed down all over the world. But that doesn't mean we still can't get to visit faraway places. Since the beginning of the lockdown, several museums and organizations have been preparing virtual tours that allow users to explore their spaces through digital immersion. With that in mind, here are four different ways for you to explore places without leaving your home.
In this week's reprint from Metropolis Magazine, authors Madeline Burke-Vigeland, FAIA, LEED AP, a principal at Gensler, and Benjamin A. Miko, MD, assistant professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center explore how uniform standards applied across the built environment can protect our communities from COVID-19 and future pandemics.
“We need a new spatial contract." This is the call of Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Venice Biennale 2021, as an invitation for architects to imagine new spaces in which we can live together. Between a move towards urban flight and global housing crises, the growth of more low-rise, dense developments may provide an answer in the countryside. Turning away from single family homes in rural areas and suburbs, modern housing projects are exploring new models of shared living in nature.
In this week's reprint from Metropolis, Amanda Schneider, president of ThinkLab, the research division of SANDOW, explores how "designers can help create healthy, safe interiors with thoughtful surface and filtration selections". Asking how we can have sanitized surfaces, without having to deep clean them regularly, the author discusses the materiality of healthy safe interiors.
“If you gave me your shoe, I could tell you with about 90% accuracy the city in the world from which you came,” says Christopher Mason, Ph.D., a professor at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, NY, co-author of the first global atlas of urban microorganisms. The study, carried out by the international Metagenomics and Metadesign of Subways and Urban Biomes (MetaSUB) consortium, creates a map of the microbiome of some of the largest cities in the world.
Auckland in New Zealand has topped the ranking in the 2021 EIU's annual world's most liveable city survey. Classifying 140 cities across five categories including stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure, this year’s edition of the review has been highly affected by the global pandemic. Australia, Japan, and New Zealand took leading positions, while European and Canadian cities fell down the ranking.