COVID-19 has changed the way we look at virtually every part of our world and it is progressively seeming like some of these changes are here to stay. So, what does that mean for the design world and design professionals? Long story short- they have had to revamp the entire way that we look at the world.
With ever-changing restrictions throughout the past two years, social distancing, and masking. The world has learned how to house businesses outside, instead of inside.
This has made a pivotal impact on city planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, surveyors, interior designers, and many other design professions. Now, instead of these professions operating as how they were trained to, they must adapt to the changing world around us; a trait they were always familiar with but forced to have perfect during the past two years.
Thomas Heatherwick said it best when he said, “We’ve seen before that disasters have been catalysts for major changes in architecture.” This showcased how design professions have had to adapt and change due to the changes the world has gone through. It represents a pattern of change that happens when something momentous happens. Think of Hurricane Sandy, the Dust Bowl, Deepwater Horizon, and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on Pompeii. All these events forced design professionals to pivot the way they thought so that the catastrophic damage that was done would not happen again in those ways. It forced us to think of design in a more resilient manner, and COVID-19 is no different.
COVID-19 has brought about the resurgence of nature and the outdoors, bringing us back to our roots. With so many people stuck inside, we learned to go outside to find solace.
This means architects and interior designers have had to start making buildings adaptable to social distancing. City planners and landscape architects have had to ramp up their public space and outdoor designs to connect people with nature again. This connection has long been in the works since technology took over, but COVID-19 has speed up the need for that connection.
Now more than ever, we need the outdoors to help us heal and to use as space to get away. Designers now must take this into consideration and must reform the way that they function. Now we are exploring open space in a way that we haven’t been able to before. This makes design professions look at the psychology and movement of the people, to design better spaces for them. These spaces are now embracing strong infrastructure and bringing about reclamation of cities. Something so many design professions have made their lives trying to perfect. Once again, Jane Jacobs’ ‘eyes on the street’ philosophy is coming to fruition in a major way.
People are finding themselves in nature more and more as a place to find serenity. This is a pattern we hope never disappears.
You can read a more in-depth discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on architecture here. You can also read more about the resurgence of nature during the pandemic here. To find your local park, visit this website.