The impact of COVID-19 and its variants have prompted several notable design trends in commercial and healthcare building facilities related to social distancing, touchless tech and enhanced HVAC systems. However, this isn’t the first time in history that disease has influenced the built environment. In the 1800s, Napoleon Bonaparte recruited urban planner George-Eugene Haussman to completely renovate Paris–which suffered regular outbreaks of cholera and typhoid that killed tens of thousands at the time–by transforming its narrow, overcrowded streets to wider avenues and tree-lined boulevards as well as overhauling the city’s sewage network. The city of London reconfigured infrastructure in response to its 1954 cholera epidemic as well.
As the pandemic continues, building design will continue to be impacted. According to Architectural Digest, architectural trends on the horizon include:
- Fewer open offices and more socially distanced, virtual offices that allow for a balance of isolated concentration and workplace collaboration
- Increased automation and development of touchless tech, including automatic doors, voice-activated elevators, and hands-free light switches and temperature controls
- Increased use of antibacterial fabrics and finishes such as copper, brass, cork or bronze rather than plastic or stainless steel
- Wider aisles and hallways that allow for social distancing and higher ceilings that allow for increased air circulation
- Waiting nooks instead of large waiting areas in hospital facilities using RFID technology to track and alert patients
- RFID technology to give virtual access to staff at designated areas
- Reducing the number of flat surfaces where germs can accumulate
In addition, Architectural Digest forecasters predict post-pandemic interior design will trend more toward nostalgia and a different time, such as Victorian Cottagecore and Greek keys and columns; natural-inspired tones such as greens, blues and terra-cotta that are comforting and reassuring; curvaceous (rather than sharp-edged) furniture that envelops users, and natural lighting that brings a sense of circadian rhythm and protecting mental health. For more information on building design trends and compliance and facilities management, give us a call at 210-495-1950.
*Information from this article was found from Architectural Digest