Over the last few years something has become pretty clear. The internet has infiltrated our lives, with a steady shift towards online shopping, remote work and more. Now, a pandemic has cemented and accelerated these shifts in the way we live and work. They are no longer gradual but have been condensed and forced upon us.
According to IBM’s US Retail Index, the shift to e-commerce has been accelerated by a startling five years. And while remote work was also possible before the pandemic, many office spaces now stand empty and office work is no longer an option. Zoom meetings are the new normal. Even though we are certain there will be a return to the physical office for some, there may also be compelling reasons for others to continue to work from home. Consider the artefacts of the work commute – unproductive time spent travelling, the carbon footprint of cars, crowded transit endangering health and the cost of childcare.
The pandemic is motivating change. But how can we grab this opportunity to do better, for everyone?
With the change in work and shopping habits comes a need for change in the physical spaces we occupy. And architects like Katie Faulkner have been thinking about how this pandemic will impact architecture and design. Katie’s ambitions have always been to design impactful, sustainable and socially responsible architecture, but now there is even more to think about.
Now she’s thinking about different ways of delivering projects and the materials that are used to build them; ways in which the building industry can reduce its carbon footprint; ways in which the carbon footprint of buildings can be reduced to zero and ways in which to make buildings more useful, more productive. Issues to be considered include storm surge, climate change and the need to make the world a more sustainable, fair and inclusive place. And as our space needs change, so will the need to revisit land-use restrictions, zoning requirements and building codes as the need for change becomes more pressing.
There’s a domino effect here. The first domino to fall was the pandemic. There are many more to come.
Listen to my interview with Katie Faulkner to learn more.
Image by Standsome from Pixabay