History is a witness to all the major events that led to the cultural, political, and architectural advances that contributed to the evolution of the world. But it is interesting to know that the majority of these events were wars, natural calamities, famines, epidemics, and widespread pandemics. The recent event- the COVID-19 pandemic altered the way we perceive the world and gave us a whole new perspective. More specifically to architecture, this pandemic forced people to stay indoors, have no social interactions, and be confined to the four walls of their dwellings. This made people aware of the luxury of being able to go outdoors, travel, and witness the beauty this world has to offer. There have been numerous kinds of research, interactions, debates, and studies about how the pandemic affected the need for spaces around us, and how it changed the course of our lives. And just like everything, architecture must now accommodate the needs and suit itself to the new normal. With the constant evolution of global trends in the field of architecture, let us see how the pandemic affected them. These new trends are here to stay and will contribute to the quality of our lives while being sensitive and ready for the consequences of another pandemic.

1. Decentralized Office Spaces | Global Trends

While working from home was a response to the pandemic, this style of working is here for the long run. With many global companies converting their work culture to WFH, this gives employees the freedom to work out of their own space. The rise in this trend cuts down the need to commute daily and saves the load and expense of the resources consumed in terms of infrastructure. Many big companies are now encouraging their employees to work from home in professions that can accommodate this work culture. This has affected two sectors of architecture- commercial and residential. Architects now have to design residential spaces that have home office spaces. The office spaces, on the other hand, won’t be used as frequently as they used to. So huge areas of offices can be cut down and rather be converted into small, functional offices responding to the need of individuals accommodating the space.

Global trends
Global trends

2. Adaptive Reuse

During the pandemic, we witnessed how the function of spaces was altered to meet the need for more beds. Huge stadiums and public arenas were converted overnight as the pandemic hit us. This resulted in architects and urban planners rethinking the character and quality of these spaces. It was time to view spaces that could act as multifunctional areas in times of need. So, after the pandemic, it became a social responsibility for designers to envision these spaces being flexible and serving to fulfill various purposes as we progress. This is not a new concept but is undoubtedly a point to be considered seriously.

Global trends of post pandemic architecture - Sheet2
Stadium converted into hospital wards_©serbian govt.
Global trends of post pandemic architecture - Sheet3
Pandemic Responsive Spaces ©Hilary Swift

3. Improved Public Landscape Spaces | Global Trends

Global trends of post pandemic architecture - Sheet4
New day Urban Spaces ©Emma Roulette

Now more than ever, people have realized the need to go outdoors and be able to experience nature. The pandemic changed our idea of what public landscapes meant. They aren’t just green spaces in the middle of the urban fabric but serve a higher purpose of contributing to the air quality, acting as noise barriers, helping in conserving the ecosystem, and more. We see the evolution of these spaces, post-pandemic, as being somewhat segregated and following the safe distance norms. It is time we perceive these landscapes as an important factor contributing to the quality of life and not a mere green area. The new idea of socially interactive isolation allows us to have a balanced social life while taking safety precautions in times like the recent pandemic.

4. Redefining Domestic Spaces

Global trends of post pandemic architecture - Sheet5
Home+Office_ © Emma Roulette
Global trends of post pandemic architecture - Sheet6
The New Normal_© Eva Bee

The idea of home was majorly affected by the pandemic. We were not only forced to stay inside but we were expected to work and educate all from a confined space. This redefined the function of our domestic spaces- the new normal demands homes with abundant natural resources while accommodating our new work culture and lifestyle. There is a demand for high-tech, low-touch systems integrated with the houses that allow their inhabitants to have ease and comfort while being confined to the spaces. This new trend in residential housing was a response to the pandemic but can be seen as an opportunity to redefine the spatial requirements and spaces inside the house. From working full time to educating and nurturing children and having to restrict all our indoor activities- the design of the conventional home spaces has been modified.

5. Rise in Modular Construction | Global Trends

Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network
Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network
Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network
Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network
Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network
Modular Furnitures_ ©Middle East Architecture Network

Even before the pandemic, architects and designers were using new technologies and materials but after the pandemic, we understand the need for the same. It not only saves time but also allows spaces to be flexible. In times like COVID-19 when we saw a rise in the need for medical infrastructure- we must have spaces that can transform or set up in no time. While we knew a pandemic was inevitable, no one could imagine the kind of sudden shift it brought to our lives. We cannot deny the idea of having spaces that could assemble and dismantle quickly and aid while catering to large masses. One such example would be the Wuhan Hospital which was made using modular construction to cater to the patients during rush hour. 

Wuhan Hospital modlar construction_©bbc.com
Wuhan Hospital modlar construction_©bbc.com
Wuhan Hospital modlar construction_©bbc.com
Wuhan Hospital modlar construction_©bbc.com

There is no denying that as we progress and evolve, change is inevitable and also important. These trends along with several others will shape our society in the near future and also respond to a pandemic better than they did the first time. As architects of the modern day, it is our responsibility to welcome these changes and work along with them while also upholding the true essence of architecture- to make this world a better place.

Sources-

1)https://www.wallpaper.com/architecture/global-post-pandemic-architecture-responses

2)https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/how-the-coronavirus-will-reshape-architecture

3)https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/industry/covid19-city-design/

Author

Manaswi is a student who is exploring various avenues of architecture. She is an amateur photographer and loves to observe more than what meets the eye. Her deep interest in the human mind and architecture has given her a different perspective on life in general.