More than a year into this worldwide experiment of working from home, we have not yet landed on the perfect formula for the workforce being once again in the workspace. Furthermore, not only has the Working From Home (WFH) situation lasted longer than anticipated, it has embedded itself into the way we will work forevermore. As vaccines are rolled out, leaders of all types of organizations must now seriously consider how to handle the return of their employees to the physical office space.
Healthy Design: The Latest Architecture and News
Construction has begun on “Welcome, feeling at work”, a biophilic office of the future in Milan, Italy. Designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates and commissioned by Europa Risorse, this venture seeks to create a workspace centered on employee health and wellbeing, integrated within its local environment. Imagined to be one of the most sustainable office development to date, the project is scheduled for 2024.
“Change drives innovation. We must continually evolve into what a successful workplace looks like,” said Nicole Senior, director of workplace experience, Tinder. Change, innovation and human connection were topics of prominence in a December 17 Think Tank, hosted by Rapt Studio, and titled “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Workforce Lessons for 2021.”
Across the globe, ever since 2014, every year on the 31st of October, World Cities Day is celebrated. To mark this event, UN-Habitat has released its World Cities Report 2020 on the value of sustainable urbanization, focusing on the most up-to-date and pressing topics. Analyzing the intrinsic value of cities in generating economic prosperity, mitigating environmental degradation, reducing social inequality, and building stronger institutions, the report highlights how together these can drive transformative change.
CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has created a pilot project for Sella Group’s Open Innovation Center in Turin, Italy, addressing post-pandemic challenges. The new workplace design features automated desk sanitizing, collaborative digital platforms, and smart windows to ensure health, safety, and sociability.
It is now of worldwide interest to re-think how our cities will adapt to a post-COVID-19 era, and take the necessary actions. Understanding that social distancing is of vital importance, our various daily-life spaces will face an inevitable change. Considering the current situation which calls for proper architectural solutions in response to the unprecedented pandemic, The Seoul Metropolitan Government is developing innovative concepts for new built environments, city spaces, and landscapes, able to adapt to this post-coronavirus era. Aligned with this approach, Seoul City has recently held an international Competition for Architectural Ideas in order to prepare for the post-COVID-19 world.
Architects are mobilizing their efforts, to help schools around the world reconsider their design in order to guarantee sustainability, emotional wellness, and physical health. CetraRuddy, Cooper Robertson, and WXY are amongst those proposing an increase in outdoor programming and a rearrangement of classrooms, for post-pandemic school design.
The architectural scene has been witnessing lately a growing focus on indoor/outdoor functions. Discover 3 different interventions from 3 different practices, tackling one common issue, and focusing on outdoor space as a major programming element.
Many of us spend more time at our offices than ever before and sometimes see our colleagues more than our own families. Workplaces can be considered to be our second homes, which is why the way we deliberately design them in the present day has garnered so much attention. The overarching design of workplaces aims to create a perfect balance between heads-down focus work and layers of collaboration to improve the productivity and general well being of employees. As workplace trends come and go, there’s a new progression on everyone’s minds- and it predicts what a post-COVID-19 office might look like both in the immediate and long term future. Although there’s no crystal ball answer, many architecture firms, research groups, and real estate companies have been tapped to ideate and implement forward-thinking design solutions and health safety policies that will be critical in redefining how we utilize our workplaces for the years to come.
Curl la Tourelle Head Architecture (CLTH) has imagined a new design approach for classrooms when schools reopen as the lockdown eases in the UK. The architecture practice based in London has released an innovative concept “to help mitigate restricted circulation routes within schools and maintain the necessary social distancing among pupils and staff”.
MASS Design Group has released a guideline for restaurants in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to help these business reopen safely, viably, and vibrantly. Based on world health recommendations, the drafted protocols aim to keep both staff and customers safe, as well as facilitate operations.
Although any architectural project must ensure the safety and well-being of its occupants, this goal is especially pertinent for healthcare spaces, whose primary occupants are those prone to getting sick or worsening their initial condition. For this reason, its design must not only support medical procedures in their optimal conditions, but also ensure that the environment is kept sterile and clean at all times.
How do materials that fight the growth of pathogenic bacteria work? Is it possible to improve the hygiene and healthiness of an environment without neglecting the aesthetics of the space? We address this question by reviewing the case of Krion® solid surfaces, widely used in the healthcare sector but also in residential, commercial and office projects.
Many of us have already lived, or are currently living in, some sort of shared community housing. Whether it be from a college experience of living in a dormitory or a retirement community filled with other senior citizens, the loosely defined, yet increasingly popular concept of co-living has taken on many forms in society. The co-living market giants, including WeLive, Common, and Ollie, center themselves around participating in a shared economy, offering a financially sensible housing solution, and fostering meaningful social connections. As we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to the enforcement of social distancing and stay-at-home mandates, co-living tenants have felt compelled to navigate the loopholes in the designs of their communities in order to discover new ways of living with others, while also mitigating health risks. In fact, co-living communities may be better positioned to handle a pandemic while balancing a sense of normalcy more so than traditional residential real estate offerings.
In the midst of a pandemic that has already affected 184 countries and infected more than a million people around the world, we seek to cover all topics that relate the coronavirus within architecture and space, and ways to make social distancing less painful.
Over the past few decades, interior spaces have become increasingly open and versatile. From the thick walls and multiple subdivisions of Palladian villas, for example, to today's free-standing and multi-functional plans, architecture attempts to combat obsolescence by providing consistently efficient environments for everyday life, considering both present and future use. And while Palladio's old villas can still accommodate a wide variety of functions and lifestyles, re-adapting their use without changing an inch of their original design, today, flexibility seems to be the recipe for extending the useful life of buildings as far as possible.
How, then, can we design spaces neutral and flexible enough to adapt to the evolving human being, while still accomplishing the needs that each person requires today? An ancient element could help redefine the way we conceive and inhabit space: curtains.
Nothing is more rational than using the wind, a natural, free, renewable and healthy resource, to improve the thermal comfort of our projects. The awareness of the finiteness of the resources and the demand for the reduction in the energy consumption has removed air-conditioning systems as the protagonist of any project. Architects and engineers are turning to this more passive system to improve thermal comfort. It is evident that there are extreme climates in which there is no escape, or else the use of artificial systems, but in a large part of the terrestrial surface it is possible to provide a pleasant flow of air through the environments by means of passive systems, especially if the actions are considered during the project stage.
This is a highly complex theme, but we have approached some of the concepts exemplifying them with built projects. A series of ventilation systems can help in the projects: natural cross ventilation, natural induced ventilation, chimney effect and evaporative cooling, which combined with the correct use of constructive elements allows improvement in thermal comfort and decrease in energy consumption.