31 Mar Corona Virus and our Homes
The Covid-19 virus – corona virus – has turned the world upside down. How will it affect the design of our homes?
Life after coronavirus: how will the pandemic affect our homes?
Sergey Makhno | 25 March 2020
“As people around the world face the realities of self isolation, Ukrainian architect Sergey Makhno predicts how our homes will change once the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Life after the Covid-19 outbreak will never be the same as before. We are at the beginning of the end, waiting for a new beginning. Planet Earth will break its cooperation agreement with mankind unless we urgently revise our behaviour.
The forecasts appear one by one. Some of them are more optimistic, some not. But almost everyone agrees that, despite a decline of such unprecedented scale, humanity will still find the strength to recover.
Values will change, our lives and habits will change, and our homes will also change under that influence. With that in mind, here are seven predictions for the changes that might occur.
Houses not apartments
High-rise buildings were designed to organise as many people as possible in one place. Health and hygiene were not a consideration. In times of pandemic, it is necessary to reduce contact with everything that is used in multi-storey buildings: elevator, elevator buttons, door handles, surfaces and, above all, neighbours.
After forced self-isolation on different floors above the ground, often without a balcony or terrace, we will all desperately want to have a house. It can be small, but with a courtyard and a terrace where you can have coffee in the morning.
Throughout time, the primary function of the house has been safety. Initially, it served as a hiding place from bad weather and predatory animals. Then, tall stone fortresses were built to prevent the enemy getting in. Today, people need a house that can effectively provide social isolation.
More than an escape from routine and urban chaos, the house now offers a retreat from viruses and infections. Urbanisation takes a step back as we relocate to small villages and city suburbs.
Bunkers better than open-plan
For survivalists – those constantly training to survive a coming apocalypse — there was already a trend for fortified buildings. But now we can expect that trend to become more widespread.
Looking at our real experience, films about the end of the world no longer seem to be so fantastic. The desire to prepare your home for natural or man-made hazards is no longer surprising. There will not only be a garage near the house, but also a hopper, or at least a fortified “minus” floor with a pantry for food and water.
We’ll also be saying goodbye to one of the main trends of recent years: open-plan spaces, with the entrance, living room, dining space and kitchen united. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the entrance area will be separated so that we can leave our shoes, clothing and belongings on the street, rather than carry dirt into the living quarters.
Self-sufficient power and water
The buildings of the future will be proud and independent, with their own water supply and heating. Geothermal wells are gaining popularity already. In addition to water, they can partially provide a home with heating.
There will be several other sources of heating to have as a safety net: a stove, a fireplace, a solid fuel boiler, a fuel generator, solar panels. Autonomous mini-stations generating alternative power will become a reality. The goal will be independence from the outside world, minimising risks in the case of a full shutdown.
Satellite internet is currently an expensive and inconvenient service, accessible only to certain individuals and organisations, such as maritime transport, mining and construction companies, and military organisations. In the future, developments for civilian use will be accelerated, offering us very quick access to the internet.
OneWeb and SpaceX were already planning to cover the entire planet with this technology before the pandemic began. OneWeb has already deployed 40 of a planned 648 satellites into the Earth’s orbit, while SpaceX’s Starlink project envisages the launch of 12,000 satellites into low orbit by the mid-2020s.
Filtration and neutralisation
Water and air filtration systems tend to be seen as an unnecessary addition, easily abandoned in favour of a designer table. After the pandemic the trend will change, as people worry about what might happen if a virus gets into the water supply. To make sure, people will be willing to pay for the excavation, surveys and filtration systems needed to install a well.
Manufacturers of smart home systems will go one step further. Their programs will not only control the temperature of the air in the house, but also its quality and, if necessary, they will automatically clean it. Air from the outside will of course be filtered.
Particularly demanding families may also create a cleaning room featuring antiseptic dispensers. Going through this space will be the only way into the house for deliveries or guests. Additionally, homes will also be equipped with a lamp that generates ultraviolet radiation, which can kill some harmful organisms, viruses and bacteria.”
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