The future of the home after Covid-19 lifestyle
The lockdown has revealed various defects and shortcomings in people’s homes and has led to a new concept of residential architecture, based on habitability, exterior orientation and sustainable design.
The health crisis caused by the coronavirus has raised new questions about how we live and use our homes. The new social standards brought about by the pandemic have turned homes into offices, playgrounds, schools, gyms and cinemas, as many activities that previously occurred outside the home now take place indoors.
This situation has led architects, designers, interior designers and property developers to rethink the design and the characteristics of tomorrow’s buildings, where sustainability, quality of space, health and external orientation will play an important part. This is demonstrated by the latest survey conducted by the Idealista property portal, where it was seen that the demand for homes with a balcony, terrace or garden increased by 40% during the lockdown. Servihabitat also saw a change in this direction, as demand for homes with a terrace or garden has grown by 26% since March.
The fact that people are working from home and the overpopulation of cities are also influencing these new search criteria. In the study by Idealista, it was found that 38.8% of users were interested in acquiring a home in a Spanish provincial capital as against 44.1% before the lockdown. As houses are larger in the less central areas of cities, and many have gardens or shared open spaces, many Spaniards are rethinking their place of residence or work.
According to a survey by the Bank of Spain, during this period 80% of the companies consulted had increased the number of staff working from home and it has been estimated that 30.6% of the jobs surveyed could be done from home. “Both in homes and in offices it is essential to promote open spaces to free the mind, to choose adaptable furniture that prevents muscle atrophy and to opt for quality lighting and good acoustic properties,” argues Alejandro Cobos, Technical Director of INERIA Management.
The increase in working from home has opened up new possibilities in housing construction and interior design. Many experts are proposing a new housing model based on multi-purpose rooms, continuous design, cross-ventilation, home automation and the proportionality of spaces.
Automated accessible homes
Although it is a common feature of international airports and large stores, automation will also define the homes of the future, “not as a luxury, but as a necessity after the virus,” according to architect Ángel Fito.
The purpose of home automation will be to avoid direct contact between people and it will keep areas such as bathrooms and kitchens tidier and more hygienic. Contactless taps, smart kitchens, cleaning robots, virtual assistants and temperature regulators will be among the new resources used in post-coronavirus homes.
Another solution being considered in the sector is the installation of industrialised structures that reduce building time and environmental impact. “Mobile partitions make homes more flexible, according to the needs that arise in different stages of our lives. They are especially useful for smaller homes because they create open spaces,” architects César Frías and Tomás Gasset commented during a Porcelanosa Lifestyle Magazine interview.
Some experts believe that there will be a move towards homogenous design by combining interior and exterior, while spaces such as the living room or kitchen will become part of the same structure. The sanitary protocols established to slow the spread of the virus refer to more frequent ventilation in spaces where people meet, such as living rooms or kitchens. In this new scenario the ventilated façades by Butech (Porcelanosa Group), which make interiors lighter and increase energy efficiency could become one of the architect’s greatest allies.
Aseptic materials and textiles
Cotton sheets with zinc oxide nanoparticles and materials such as Krion® from the Porcelanosa Group, which are aseptic and easily cleaned, will help to ensure that the home is clean and disinfected and contribute to the well-being of the occupants. “Professionals need to install antiseptic materials to prevent the accumulation of bacteria on surfaces, and to do so we need to be able to rely on materials that counteract infection,” concludes architect Ángel Fito.
Arquitectura15·05·2020La pandemia de Covid-19 ha convertido hoteles, parques públicos y pabellones deportivos en centros sanitarios y la arquitectura sanitaria está estudiando nuevas fórmulas de construcción basadas en materiales sostenibles, estructuras industrializadas y en el diseño flexible.