Architecture to protect us against coronavirus and other hazards

ARK Architects highlights the importance of building sustainable and healthy buildings to protect ourselves against the present risks, and the possible threats of the future

Natural ventilation, site-specific analysis, landscape design or use of top quality building materials are some secrets of this firm to guarantee a house able to look after our health and well-being.

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The design of our spaces has the power to hurt us or to keep us safe. If this untypical year has proved anything, it is how important is to be protected from viruses, but also invisible bacteria or fungi —especially in enclosed spaces. The architecture has always been important to prevent possible illnesses related to those microorganisms. From floor layouts to the choice of materials, or the circulation of air: every decision we make matters. This fact is well known all along by the international architectural studio, ARK Architects, specialized in design and construction of luxury residential villas. It is clear that health is not a luxury, but a necessity.

This pandemic has reminded us how important our houses are to our daily well-being, according to ARK architects. For them, the future of residential design is not just to prevent people against the effects of a health crisis, as the current one, but also against the risks that may be caused in the future due to an ecological crisis (climatic change and so on).

Reserva Club Sotogrande Villa Dorado by ARK Architects

While the world is in a race to get a vaccine for the Covid-19,  no vaccine or antibiotic is more effective to prevent certain diseases that a good building design. It has always been considered as an important factor in maintaining health. This concept was not born because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it was already coined by Modernist architects, such as Le Cobusier and Tony Garnier, who designed buildings to admit sunlight and fresh air due to concern for occupant health, procedures also applied by ARK Architects. Those Modernist architects defined buildings as ‘health machines’, based on the ‘prevention is better than cure’ concept.

‘Houses have the power to bring joy and meaningful connection to our physical world. We delight in natural day lighting, quality materials, healthy indoor air quality, and access to livable outdoor spaces. In many ways, this analog moment is a return to simple living, and in designing future homes, we will think more about what is essential to the experience of how we want to live’, in the words of ARK architects.

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‘We always have developed architecture built with people in mind, being aware from the first moment that the design of our spaces has the power to hurt us or to keep us safe’, says Manuel Ruiz Moriche, Creative Director at ARK Architects

What it seems to be beyond all doubt is that architectural design is poised to undergo a revolution over the next few decades in response to climate change, urbanization, population growth  and the emergence of the pandemic caused by coronavirus has accelerated this revolution. From the other side, microbiology of the built environment (MoBE) research represents a prime opportunity for such design-science collaboration.

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Because building energy use contributes over 40 % of total global carbon emissions, many architects have pledged to achieve net zero energy use for all new buildings by 2030. Now it is the moment to build healthy and sustainable buildings, especially attending to United Nations forecast, we will be 9,000 million people (who obviously will need accommodation) by 2050.

Sustainability is a key value for the firm ARK Architects, seeking constantly the greatest respect for the environment, not only during the choice of materials and in the way of integrating the architectural work with the natural elements, but also in each of the different stages of construction and design of the luxury villa. The residences are equipped with the maximum energy efficiency, and all hold Passivhaus standards (ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling). ARK Architects’ philosophy is clear: projects must be alive for human beings and respect the environment, because luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand. They build sustainable and healthy villas using natural ventilation, because it lets outdoor air circulate through homes without using mechanical devices such as air-conditioning systems. Natural ventilation promotes a healthier lifestyle. For instance, the oxygen from fresh air can enhance your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy levels. It strengthens your immune system. It also makes people feel relaxed and refreshed thanks to higher serotonin levels. Inadequate ventilation allows for the accumulation of a variety of pollutants from building materials, fuel burning, and radon gas emissions. Moulds, a risk factor for allergies and asthma, thrive in unventilated areas. Improved design for ventilation can increase air exchanges and air quality, thereby reducing these health risks. It has been estimated that improved natural ventilation reduces lung-related illnesses by up to 20%.

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Apart from that, they use top quality and natural building materials, such as wood or glass, with the highest standards in weatherproofing and thermal an acoustic insulation. Landscape features are integrated in the house design, using mostly native plants and conserving existing trees. They also take in consideration the orientation of the villa, after a site-specific analysis for the client to be enjoying the most natural light and sun in the home, in order to minimize the use of the artificial illumination of heating. Besides, in ARK Architects buildings, alternative energyis used, such as photovoltaic, thermal solar, and other alternative technologies in order to reduce energy consumption.

ARK Architects’ projects in Marbella, Zagaleta, Sotogrande, Murcia, Madrid or Miami are good proof of this.

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ARK Architects: a unique concept

ARK Architects is an international architectural studio located in Southern Spain, specialized in the whole process of design and construction of luxury residential villas. Their motto is not to only build houses, but to create unique experiences.

ARK Architects, led by the creative Manuel R. Moriche, offers a unique concept that cannot be found in any other company. Far from being a standard architectural studio, it integrates everything necessary to create a “tailor-made” villa.

Design, construction, building licensing, interior design, landscaping, and much more in just a single company: those characteristics have led ARK to become an international reference in the luxury real-estate market. Based in Marbella, their international projects are exporting Brand Spain way beyond the borders.

“Our architecture does not seek to win any awards, but to adapt to the people living there,” they say.

ARK’s designs are modern, contemporary, elegant and distinctive. They create places that maintain the DNA, considered as the key that allow an architectural project to awaken our emotions. This is why it is often said that there is no other architectural firm like ARK.


“In ARK Architects, we create our projects as if they were complex artworks with the ability to turn the space into a unique experience in the world”

Manuel Ruiz Moriche

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