"I recently read an article in a newspaper talking about how pandemics in the past changed architecture and design. The pandemics caused by cholera, the bubonic plague and tuberculosis were three nasty disease outbreaks which provoked changes in design, architecture and, the way we live." Charles Gubbins
It is said that the outbreak of cholera, was the catalyst in the creation of the grid system in cities. A significant contributor to the eradication of cholera was the creation of sewage systems which required wider and straighter streets.
The rat was largely responsible for the bubonic plague. Stopping these creatures from entering homes was critical to eradicating the disease. So, new designs in drainpipes, door thresholds and foundations for buildings became a way to combat the highly feared rodent.
Tuberculosis may have influenced the introduction of easy to clean and disinfect surfaces along with the requirement of additional light. Arguably larger white painted rooms and making bathrooms more hygienic with the introduction of tiles came from the drive to control and eradicate tuberculosis. Even the design of the reclining chair came from the need to keep patients distanced and comfortable for long periods of time. Source
How will the Coronavirus pandemic affect the architecture and urban design of Sotogrande?
With the above in mind I wonder if the current COVID-19 will be the catalyst to some new, maybe radically new, design features or architectural shifts. Will homes need to adapt to better accommodate work perhaps? Will the practice of social distancing lead to wider sidewalks? Will a place such Sotogrande become more popular to have a primary residence as people no longer want to live so densely packed in large cities?
Possibly places where we work will be the most impacted. I believe both the worker and the employer will drive this trend. Workers will want a safe disease-free environment, and employers will not want workers to be absent due illnesses caused by unhygienic workplaces. Less exposure to other humans and the ongoing and voluntary practice of social distancing will become the new norm.
Whilst writing this piece I spoke with Manuel Ruiz Moriche, Creative Director ARK Architects in Sotogrande. He referred me to a blog on his website where he comments as follows:
“Certainly, the current health crisis is causing many of us to see our homes in a new light. It remains to be seen how our newly acquired habits and behaviours might become more permanent. In planning for the future, we expect that climate change and environmental degradation will increase with each passing year, and we as architects understand how to address these known certainties. But no one predicted that a global health crisis would upend our lives, fundamentally shift how we live in our homes, and impact the future of residential design.
This pandemic serves to remind us how important our houses are to our daily well-being. Houses have the power to bring joy and meaningful connection to our physical world. And in this moment of being homebound, while we need our interior spaces to be flexible to accommodate temporary activities, more importantly we need to enjoy the space regardless of what function it serves. We delight in natural daylighting, quality materials, healthy indoor air quality, and access to liveable outdoor spaces. In many ways, this analogue 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”.
Read More about Manuel Ruiz Moriche views here: https://ark-architects.com/how-ark-architecture-can-defend-us-from-germs-bacteria-and-viruses-like-covid-19/