By Gabe Derksen, Architect, Associate, Education + Recreation Studio Lead
It’s been said that the COVID-19 pandemic has had the effect of “pressing the Fast-forward button” on social and technological changes that have been waiting in the wings for years. There’s evidence to support this of course – our overnight reliance on distance education (new double meaning intended) and the growing acceptance of remote doctor’s appointments are two examples of major shifts that seem poised to stay with us in some form going forward. As designers, we find ourselves challenged now with how to best adapt the physical environment to support these and many other changes, and to the extent possible anticipate which changes will take hold to become part of the “new normal”, versus those that will be remembered as temporary or transitional measures.
By Michael Farion, Architect
I know it seems odd to talk about compact spaces and tight sleeping quarters in the time of social distancing. Even after COVID-19 has left our collective memories, the ever-pressing issues of globalization, density, real estate values and economies of scale are still important precepts that mankind must deal with in the future.
“May you live in interesting times.” - Sir Austen Chamberlain
Left: Windows in the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel are illuminated in a heart shape during the Coronavirus outbreak in Boston. (Michael Dwyer/AP) / Right: The Intercontinental San Francisco has lit up its windows on the front exterior of the building, in the shape of a heart (Douglas Zimmerman/SFGate)
By Christina Legris, Partner, Education + Recreation Studio Lead
It is hard not think about the dramatic impact that a rapidly spreading global pandemic will have on our psyche and our perception of the spaces that we occupy everyday. What will our world look like? What will it take for us to be able to trust our surroundings in a way that allows us to gather and connect as a community? By nature, humans are social beings, and now more than ever we crave a connection with others that can not be fulfilled completely by on-line social platforms.
By Marnie Gartrell, Architect
With many Manitoba workplaces carefully re-opening their doors and some pandemic restrictions loosening, the desire to move forward in these uncertain times, and dealing with the stress of that uncertainty, is about the only certainty we can count on right now!
This graphic adapted from the Spectrum of Public Participation (c) International Association for Public Participation www.iap2.org
By Laurène Bachand, Architect
Universal design is simple and inclusive. It is to ensure an environment can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, or ability. It is not ‘just’ for wheelchairs. It is for all of us, at different stages of our lives.
As designers, we need to question how this pandemic can have a positive input on our built environment. I was wondering: could the pandemic be an opportunity to rethink the universal accessibility of our public spaces?