How the pandemic situation changed the architectural market

The pandemic scenario in which we have been living has brought profound changes in the way we relate to the surrounding space, whether public or private.

The rules of social distancing and the various modalities of confinement, legal or voluntary, have drastically changed our perception of what our comfort space is. 

The situations in which whole families had to intensively share the house, making professional, school activities and the family's daily life coincide in the same space, demonstrated several shortcomings in the country's housing stock, especially in large cities and particularly in the apartments where most people inhabits. This uncomfortable reality revealed that, in many situations, the houses we live in are not dimensioned, or even designed, to comfortably accommodate all these uses simultaneously. 

In addition to living in cramped, inflexible and even less adaptable spaces, many people despaired for an outdoor space they could call their own: a garden, a backyard, a patio or, ultimately, a mere balcony. Undoubtedly, this type of spaces made confinement situations much more bearable. 

Even so, many people must have felt, in the deceleration of their chaotic usual life, and along with the anguish arising from the uncertainty about the evolution of employment and the economic situation in the near future, the attraction for calmer lifestyles, with less time wasted in exhausting daily trips and consequently with more time for leisure and family life. 

On the other hand, technological advances, namely the bandwidth that telecommunications operators currently provide, have shown that it is possible, for large fringes of the population, to effectively practice teleworking. Many people will no longer need to go to an office on a daily basis, and will be able to carry out most of their professional activity in their own home. 

This juncture has resulted in a change in the type of commissions we have been receiving in our studio, which I believe will remain even after the pandemic is an outdated scenario: 

  • The intention of remodeling current dwellings, modernizing them and making them more comfortable, adaptable and efficient;
  • The search for larger and more flexible housing, preferably with private outdoor space; 
  • The preference for living in less central areas, outside large urban centers, with much cheaper land prices and which allow people to opt for houses instead of apartments; 
  • The realization, so often postponed, of secondary housing, for holidays or weekends, where you can spend much more time than before, still allowing you to quarantine in comfort. 

This situation should be seen as an opportunity for agents – technicians, developers and legislators – to work together to rethink the characteristics that our homes should have, not from the perspective of minimum requirements, but focusing on quality, comfort, flexibility and adaptability. 

2020, November