The pandemic has placed a laundry list of new demands upon the the built environment. As this list continues to reveal itself over the coming months and years, we believe that designers have the responsibility to create spaces that support both the physical and psychological wellbeing of everyone who comes in contact with the space. This is partially what is meant by designing for resiliency, and its increasing importance cannot be overstated!
For designers, intelligent specification is critical to ushering in a new vision for our spaces.
Designing for Resilience is Thinking Big Picture
It can be tempting to only view stark changes in architecture and design through the narrow, short-term lens. Sometimes this happens without even realizing it. Currently, organizations are acting quickly with many short-term choices regarding their spaces without much time or energy left to consider longer-term implications.
However, it is very important to balance both short-term and long-term needs. Doing this makes it clear: flexible, adaptable solutions will be most successful moving forward, and we must start designing this way now, not later.
Adaptability is Resilience
“Great… but how does one design for resilience exactly?” The answer to this lies most immediately in adaptability. While future designs may improve upon, and even redefine this concept, adaptability something we can start incorporating today with real results.
The ability to adapt requires a space’s capacity to accommodate substantial change over the lifetime of the building in response to its social, economic, and physical surroundings. An adaptable space also responds quickly to the constantly evolving needs of its occupants.
In this light, designing adaptable spaces is somewhat of an exercise in the industry’s ability and willingness to be forward-thinking while remaining grounded in the present situation.
When the goal of designing a space makes the first unintuitive shift from perfection now, to flexibility for the long-haul, your space is set up to change and evolve as it comes in contact with new information. After all, staying awake to internal and external cues is what adaptability is all about.
Strides Towards Resilience
Taking on the task to plan for resilience is largely a matter of deciding where your organization is currently at, and then building upward from its culture and vision for the future. Designers are already well-versed in creating beautiful spaces. But in a post-COVID world, these same spaces will become increasingly adaptable, healthy, and resilient.