Rethinking Architecture in the Time of COVID-19


The world of architecture is constantly adapting to the needs of its users, designing spaces that make it easier for us to make our way through the world around us. That challenge has never been greater than it is now. Though we’re currently in the mire of the COVID-19 health crisis, architects everywhere are already looking beyond the lockdown measures to envision the future of architecture. With a need for more innovative and helpful designs for our living and workspaces, it’s clear that a few key changes are necessary to help us meet the challenge of this pandemic.

A Move Toward Prefabricated and Modular Construction

Few situations in recent memory have highlighted the need to construct new spaces quickly in times of crisis. Hospitals, testing sites, and temporary housing spaces have been in high demand, and prefabricated construction has become a common method of meeting this need. Thanks to the ability to have critical spaces built in weeks instead of months, plans for modular construction will be a new focus of architecture moving forward.

A Renewed Focus on Leisure Spaces

In a post-pandemic world, public space designs are likely to shift, allowing more leisure spaces so that new pedestrians can enjoy the area outside the home. Countless community areas like parks, trails, promenades, and plazas will likely get developed or re-designed to maintain social distancing while allowing people to congregate and take refuge outside.

A Move Away From Large Offices

Wide, airy offices have long been considered a major resource for workplace collaboration, making them a popular trend among businesses worldwide. But even before COVID-19 lockdown measures began, developing workspace plans had started to shift away from these open spaces, which have proven less helpful than promised. And with the rise in remote work as COVID-19’s biggest legacy, architects are re-evaluating the need for such expansive areas.

A Need for Flexibility

COVID-19 has taught us all a lesson in adaptability, and this is no less true in the world of architecture and design. At the start of the pandemic, cities quickly adapted structures for reuse, such as converting sports complexes and convention centers into medical facilities. Moving forward, however, new innovations will be necessary to allow increased flexibility. Rapidly deployable design solutions, like lightweight crisis response centers and modular medical complexes, will be a key method for helping cities adapt to emergency situations in the future. Besides, many architectural firms are considering flexible building designs that include plug-and-play modules and layouts to create makeshift spaces according to user needs. This, of course, is in addition to architectural spaces created with multiple functions in mind.

The pandemic has spurred countless changes in our home and work lives, and our continued adaptability will be key to helping us through whatever comes next. From rethinking leisure spaces to building necessary facilities faster, these industry changes will help us transition from the world of COVID-19 and beyond, allowing us to rise to any challenges that come next.