In the past few months, the world has seen unimaginable changes due to the novel Corona virus. People have experienced dramatic shifts in their lifestyles in more ways than ever. With the spreading of this virus - social distancing, frequent sanitization and working from home have become the norm. Schools and colleges have been conducting classes and assessing tests online itself. And with public places like mall cinema theatres and parks also being closed down, people have been trying to find all kinds of recreation at home itself.
Homes have been a fall back or retreat from the work environment and the outside world for most people until COVID hit. But since COVID 19, homes have become more than just homes – they are now the place for work, play, movies, concerts, and what not.
Studies have reported that it could be a long time before the world goes back to how it was before COVID and the current condition is touted to become the “new normal” for at least a few years to come.
The exigency of a world dealing with the challenges of COVID demands that house designs be re-imagined, to meet the needs of people to live and work from homes completely and peacefully in these circumstances. For the foreseeable future, homes need to be the microcosms of every inhabitant’s world’s outside doubling up as the offices, the schools, the mall, the gym, park and theatres.
Some factors to consider when designing a new home in the era of COVID, as suggested by some architects are –
One challenge for most people trying to work from home has been to find a quiet spot for meetings and work in general – a spot that is away from children, noises from outside, and of other working family members and also where the Wi-Fi connection doesn’t flicker.
To address this, each bedroom in the house can be designed with a space for work which is divided from the rest of the room and walls can also be made completely soundproof, if they aren’t.
Another important and obvious inclusion for every home hereon is easy sanitization, and wash areas with easy access. A washing and sanitization area should be added near the entrance of the home, so that the first thing that can be done on entering is washing up.
Or a bathroom attached with a changing room can also be added not very far from the entrance, which can be used as the sanitization or wash-up zone.
This can make sure that people can easily wash up and sanitize themselves properly without having to go further inside the house. Rain-water harvesting can be included for every house as it will be a useful aid in these times with people doing a lot of washing – be it hands, legs, or taking multiple baths, washing and sanitizing vegetables and fruits etc.
For people living inside homes most of the time, it is important to have good sunlight and ventilation as helps in keeping the inhabitants in good physical, emotional and mental health.
The thresholds from which we’re connected to the outside world most of the time are our balconies or verandas and terraces. These spaces need to be planned in such a way that they provide the necessary room for this connectivity and recreation.
Apart from these, it is recommended that homes also have an area or room with an attached bathroom that can be easily isolated from the rest of the house, in case a member in the house is infected.
Homes will also play an important role in deciding the kind of life people want post the pandemic. So these additions and modification in the designing of residential buildings can help people remain productive and safe within their homes for as long as is needed.