The coronavirus pandemic continues to drive global changes, reshaping our society into a new normal. But what impact will Covid-19 have on the way we build homes post-lockdown? How can design respond to the deficiencies in our homes exposed by the virus to make them more suitable for work, leisure and hygiene?
Differentiating public and private
Post-Covid homes will have a clearer focus on the boundaries between public and private, with hallways and mud rooms taking priority. These spaces could function like a decontamination chamber, a place to get rid of the outside world before entering our private space.
The importance of these spaces could be more than simply physical, providing a much needed psychological differentiator between the stresses of the day and the spaces where we finally relax and feel safe.
Prioritising outdoor space
If our experience of lockdown has taught us anything, it's the importance of being outdoors and in nature. For most of us, the safest place to do that will be in our own outdoor space. Reclaiming space from parking spaces and extra square footage to create gardens is likely to become a strong design trend. Clever use of outdoor space to provide growing areas will provide reassurance if food shortages hit again.
Is open plan over?
Open plan has dictated the design of our homes for a while now. But the days of merged space may be numbered as more of us continue to work and even school from home.
Flexible spaces that can be closed off will allow us to work, exercise and relax. Spaces will be reconfigured to allow us to eat, sleep and work in the event of a new quarantine. Even the home office will double up as a place to exercise as well as take a call.
The healthy smart home
Wellness technology, hygienic hospital-style surfaces and touchless technology will all find themselves at the heart of post-pandemic home design.
That means your home could monitor the quality of air and water, or sync the quality of light with your circadian rhythms - useful for essential workers on night shifts. Motion sensor lights and taps and the increasing use of voice activation will create fewer points of contact and therefore fewer points of contamination.
What was once seen as a luxury will become increasingly commonplace as we move towards homes designed for health and wellbeing. In terms of materials, expect to see more antimicrobial materials including copper and fewer naturally absorbent materials such as stone as the spotlight falls on health and hygiene.
Back to basics
The critical question facing the future construction of our homes will be "what do we need to feel safe and protected?"
In all likelihood, design and construction will take a back to basics approach, examining from the ground up what we require from our homes to meet the rigours of a post-pandemic world. Houses designed to be high quality and sustainable, with flexible spaces adapted to a life where lockdown is a reality will be the homes of the new normal.