Corona Space- can Architecture solve a crisis?
COVID-19- named after the year 2019- is hurting the world, big time.
Society is in mourning and the economy is feeling the pinch.These pandemics are here to stay. Self isolation is a strong measure to reduce the spread of the virus. We need to design spaces to make self isolation practical.
History shows we encountered about four pandemics in the last hundred years. We need to plan transport and public spaces to reduce the contamination. Large halls should become hospitals in such emergencies. Domestically we can design houses to cushion the impact.
In a recent interview, an American family living in Milan said something which will stay in my mind.
While the Corona Virus-affected deaths are on the rise in Italy, families are suddenly appreciating the value and pleasure of quality family time in self isolation- something they neglected in the past. They are working remotely ( a new norm in such instances) and know this horror will pass. We even witnessed families singing from their balconies to support each other. I understand Italy experienced rapid escalation due to non self isolation measures.
We need to future plan to enjoy the good times which are round the corner. OK we might go into a dip before the light appears at the end of the tunnel. But lets start planning the "future home" now.
We are currently designing an extension to a compact home where family time, storage and quarantine are the new vernacular.
The butler's pantry was a new design terminology in recent times - almost, a must have today.
Would an additional pantry room or store room become the must have? A locker for essential dry goods rations?
I am not encouraging hoarding in any way- but having those dry goods during pandemics will reduce stress.
In this residential project, we have provided an internal kids play area for those cold wintry days and plenty of underfloor storage for keeping books, emergency provisions and toys. The timber floors can be access floors like we designed for computer server rooms and in retrofits.
A vegetable garden, both on ground and on walls will keep the inhabitants mentally occupied and healthy, while quarantined.
A second living area will become a self contained comfortable living and sleeping space for self isolation with a back up kitchenette for the rest of the family.
A new home office /study for the whole family will keep them employed while kids home school during the difficult days; and a lap pool, for those who can have one, will keep their bodies fit.
They will rely on solar energy- in case of blackouts- and harvest water in underfloor bladders. An air to water technology is something we will also consider in the design.
Turning a challenge into a positive is what we Aussies do best.
Should we now reconsider inter-gen homes as the "norm"? After all, its our moral duty to care for those in need.
Victoria introduced fire bunkers to mitigate deaths through bush fires. It was an extreme measure which saved lives.
Why not legalise the granny flat or dual key homes like other States do in Australia? They too could save lives during future pandemics.