We have all had to adjust, and swiftly, to a shifting social environment — one in which we have been forced to adopt brand new ways to navigate, literally, around the safety and protection of ourselves and other members of our communities. What will our workplaces look like when we are finally allowed to return? Our gathering places, museums, arenas, markets? Our playgrounds and theaters and other sites of recreation and learning?
The threat of Covid-19 has exerted an enormous shift in our habitual protocols of movement and communication. We need to closely consider how the spaces we have traditionally occupied with little concern for their dimensions, density, and design can be the starting point for innovations in architecture.
Post-pandemic, when governments begin to focus on strengthening the economy, they must pay special attention to sponsoring and encouraging the development of buildings that promote the safety and health of its occupants. We need to look at how, why, and where we work, and create indoor and outdoor areas that are shaped to comply with our changing values and needs.
The “new normal” offers architecture the opportunity to provide spaces that assure our well-being. For instance, models that engage environmental science with green design can successfully create healthy places that adhere to the new standards. Another imperative will be employing technology that can alert us about air quality and airborne hazards, and respond to the information by adjusting floorplans and layouts based upon social-distancing objectives. This will be a tremendous test of how well we can all readjust to a changed landscape — with safety, efficiency, and communal prosperity as our primary goals.