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  • Writer's pictureKate Pawlicki Bourne

What “shelter” means in the new normal


Excerpt via Dwell As the new coronavirus continues to spread, cities and countries around the globe have ordered citizens to retreat to their homes—and stay there. As we shelter in place, the rooms where we once spent few waking hours now encapsulate our entire existence—and this short-term recalibration may have long-term effects. Find out what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the future of home design. The pandemic is already reshaping our ideas of home to emphasize wellness, hygiene, and work/life balance.

 "In the process of being sequestered for such a long period of time, clients and designers will think anew about making environments that are comforting, efficient, and safe. Over the last few decades, with more days on airplanes, nights in hotels, and meals on the go, home for many people had become a place to drop your bags and sleep a few nights a week. If anything, this pandemic has forced a widespread consideration of domestic environments." As more and more people work from home, we need to find ways to combine living areas with work spaces—but we should be careful not to decrease the quality of either space. Since space is limited in most homes, flexibility is key—for example, a dining room table can be transformed into a work space using flexible partitions. While working remotely is now routine, it will take discipline to adjust to conducting design charrettes—an intense, collaborative problem-solving process—while home alone. Juergen Riehm, cofounder and partner with David Piscuskas at 1100 Architects, says,

"The outcome of this crisis may be a renewed sense of appreciation for domestic space."

In previous crises, the home was a refuge, a place to retreat to. Now, it’s quickly becoming a place that people are looking forward to leave on a regular basis. I wonder if private space will take on some of the dimensions of the public space that so many of us are missing. At the same time, I think that the crisis has laid bare the shortcomings of our social fabric and safety net. Certainly in New York, there is the near-universal awareness that public schools not only educate our children, but also feed them. I hope that this awareness informs how schools are resourced and designed in the futurePatrick Lam, founder and creative director of Sim-Plex Design Studio Read the full story >

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