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 Kerry Feeney, Associate, Institutional Studio Lead
As we begin to carefully emerge from self-isolation, we are beginning to realize the impact of the Coronavirus in our lives moving forward. We cannot forget why we implemented these measures in the first place: not to overwhelm the healthcare system, to protects our frontline workers, to shield the immune-compromised and the vulnerable. We have witnessed this virus infiltrating our Senior Living environments with ease and with devastating consequences.
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 Brent Bellamy, Architect + Creative Director
Originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press
As half the world hid in their homes trying to avoid a deadly virus, we had a lot of time to wonder what our "new normal" would look like. As we watched New York melt down, Gotham City imagery of skyscrapers, bustling streets, and tiny apartments made it easy to assume that population density might become a COVID-19 casualty.
Drawing a line between population density and viral transmission seems like simple logic. New York is the highest-density city in the United States and its biggest hot spot for COVID-19. Living near more people intuitively means closer contact with others. It seems to add up.