The terrible pandemic has changed our customs due to the Covid-19 virus that has ravaged the world, becoming extremely virulent in the world, leaving a deep mark on all the most important aspects of our lives, and inevitably on architecture.
It is not the first time that this activity accommodates new needs arising from natural disasters or human conflicts, such as the openings of the Haussmann Boulevards, in Paris in 1800, or the British New Towns, which appeared at the beginning of the reconstruction of Europe after the Second World War, in which both of them already introduced the concept of healthiness in architecture, understanding health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), as a state of physical, mental and social well-being.
It is inevitable that the modern modes of work, life and social ties, which from now on will be integrated into our traditions, many of which are already the old demands of contemporary man, must be reflected in the new proposals for architecture.
What is born here, with the optimism we need and as a desire for debate, we hope it will be incorporated into a public discussion from which we can conclude, with the best recommendations for a new architecture, healthy architecture.
A design to include the most suitable conclusions, analyzing the most immediate needs that we have experienced to make life and work safer, more hygienic and easier, in short, healthier.
The models of life that until now we have been leading in cities, and especially in large cities, are in crisis. While its transformation has been in demand for a long time, conditions such as the one faced have proved to be an unhealthy and unsuccessful model.
“The need to reconcile family life with work at home has become evident. Suppose we add to this the problems derived from the high density of working in contained spaces and the massive nature of public life today. In that case, it is evident how the Models that exist today are obsolete and far from the considerations that we intend to achieve with a healthy architecture. It is, therefore, necessary to propose a new model of habitat,” adds Marcel Fadi, the founder of leading Cement Manufacturing Firm, Royal White Cement.
Of all the deficiencies detected these days of health emergency due to the coronavirus, some will become essential, such as hygiene, social distancing or work at home (teleworking); things that, although not new, were forgotten.
Both concerning public spaces and about private spaces, in workplaces or the homes themselves, access spaces, vertical communications, toilets and common spaces of any building will charge a fee – special importance in its role for hygiene control and social distancing.
Spaces where, surely, we will have to incorporate from now on and among other things: distant receptions, gel dispensers, mechanisms controlled by voice or presence, automatic doors, and so on. All this within the concept of the British Term Contact Fewer Buildings.
We will therefore need looser spaces that are developed in environments that are pleasant, clean and healthy, in which to cultivate movement in the face of sedentary life. All this in search of a position that allows us to take care of our wellbeing, both physical and emotional, forgotten as necessary.
“Perhaps home is one of the spaces most in need of a new model of architecture. The confinement of people, which the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has forced us to maintain for at least two months, has put our physical resistance and our mental health to the test.
“The continued family coexistence, the simultaneity with work routines from home, physical exercise or the habits of family life, in normally small, unhealthy and limited spaces, makes it inevitable that we consider a series of new concepts, especially concerning social housing.
“With the crisis caused by the Covid-19 coronavirus, needs have become evident that must be incorporated, some of which I would like to highlight here: provide homes with a workspace compatible with family life; the possibility of isolating one of the inhabitants of the dwelling in the event of illness; provide homes with an outdoor space in which to relax and receive the necessary solar contribution of vitamin D; in addition to incorporating hygiene, sanitation, isolation, efficient communications, light and solar control into homes; as some of the most essential. All this goes through conceiving larger, flexible, hygienic and resilient homes. Demanding regulation from public administrations will be mandatory, distinguishing what is desired from what is required,” concludes Fadi.
It is clear that these claims have an impact on methods that have not been discussed here, and for that reason, they are not less important, such as their cost, the profitability of their investments, the contradictions with sustainable postulates; its incorporation into the cultural heritage or the different models of urban planning that can be questioned, such as the controversy between the models of the concentrated city versus the dispersed city, and a long etcetera. It is these questions that will have to be analyzed and studied, debated and agreed upon.