Post-Pandemic Architecture: What we can expect in our buildings in 2021 and beyond
It goes without saying that the lasting impacts of COVID-19 will stretch well-beyond our society’s health. In fact, many branches of our lives will be touched by its repercussions for months, even years to come. While some might be longing for life before COVID-19 and to “return to normal,” we are choosing to think about the future. One of our goals is to be forward-thinking and ever-evolving, so as our industry tackles various road-blocks, we are already one step ahead.
The renowned design magazine and industry leader, Architectural Digest, recently shared how commercial architecture will be impacted by COVID-19. And before you click away, trust us, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, it looks like architecture, and therefore construction, could essentially pave the way for our “new normal” once the pandemic has truly come to a close.
While we’ve seen a focus on wellness in recent years, COVID-19 will certainly focus our attention even more on health and safety within new and existing buildings. Look for a sharp rise in installing automated and touchless technology being implemented everywhere from restrooms to collaborative spaces. Think automatic doors and sinks, but also voice-activated temperature and elevator controls and cell-phone controlled hotel room access.
Speaking of collaborative spaces, while those won’t be totally ousted, there will be a few changes to those areas including spaced-out work stations and optional hubs for independent work, as well. And yes, that means the addition of walls. However, instead of standard drywall, we predict an even greater shift to glass rooms or even ways to close-off or open-up space as needed. Schools, such as our project Ronald E. McNair Middle School (pictured above), have already implemented this change with great success. Are offices next?
Beyond structural changes, there will be changes to materials installed. Flat surfaces and fabrics that are easy to clean or even repel germs and bacteria on their own are on the way in. Air filtration and ventilation manufacturers are already working towards technological changes as a response to COVID-19.
Regardless of where construction is headed in the wake of COVID-19, we know one thing: we are heading that direction, too, and we are leading the way.