The coronavirus crisis and its consequences can already be seen in many aspects and sectors. We have already talked about the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic in relation to cities, but it is also very important to see it from the perspective of the future of housing. Will it change the way housing is designed? Will there be a change of paradigm in terms of building? Will the investment in our housing facilities be modified?
The crisis that has occurred in recent months, and above all the confinement of people to their homes throughout the world, has highlighted the need for decent housing. Above all, it has marked the difference between types of housing: it is clear that a pandemic and confinement in a 60 m2 flat is not the same as in a single-family house with a garden. Not only has the type of housing become a particularly relevant issue, but also the awareness of domestic space.
After all, it is a space where all aspects of daily life have been developed: leisure, family life, work, rest and even social life through video calls have had to coexist in the same space for months. For this reason, many are rethinking a reconfiguration of their homes to take into account this polyvalence in space.
Teleworking is one of the most important aspects we must talk about in order to understand this reconfiguration of spaces. Due to confinement, many companies have had to reinvent themselves to adapt to a rather complicated situation, and have considered this new way of working for many, promoting its rapid implementation in a generalised way in our country. After all, many companies have been able to adapt and save thanks to these new measures.
What does this mean in terms of housing and design? The truth is that housing will also have to adapt to this new paradigm. The way of using spaces (and we are talking about both individual housing and offices) has changed radically. It will be necessary to plan and redesign the spaces and areas of work, rest and leisure to offer more flexible and contemporary conditions of use.
One of the most affected professions by the last crisis in the real estate sector was architecture. However, this crisis has highlighted the need to reconfigure spaces, as we discussed in the previous point. Those owners who cannot or do not want to move, this time will turn to architects to expand and reconfigure their homes, offices or premises in search of specific spaces, separate or joined, useful and flexible.
The new houses will also take into account this kind of aspects, so the housing sector can experience a change in the way of designing and giving usefulness to the spaces, taking into account the crisis that can happen again at any moment.
This should be linked to urban architecture in order to seek sustainable spaces, which allow for social distance, avoiding agglomerations at the main points and changing the way cities and residential areas are understood. It will also generate a new awareness of the importance of adequate lighting and ventilation conditions, as well as the importance of outdoor spaces.
The return to the rural world is another point that must be taken into account when talking about this sector, and that is related to the previous aspects dealt with. The traditional models of life and work have mutated, and with them the need to return to the natural space and live together in spaces different from those to which we were already accustomed. The urban exodus also seems to be reconsidered in the cities, looking for natural spaces and reconfiguring the buildings to guarantee that connection with nature.
Aula modula, by Studio Belem, is a project that defines all these changes. It frees itself from the standards and codes of traditional housing and reconsiders the functions of previously established homes. The housing model they propose not only experiments with these concepts, but also works with factors such as teleworking, pollution, the return to more natural spaces, the flexibility of the spaces and the social changes that occur due to this pandemic.