How architecture can help prevent the next coronavirus
The coronavirus is causing concern in all industries, and architecture is no exception. The epidemics in China and Italy have led to disruptions, such as a large furniture fair in Milan postponed to June and the Venice Architecture Biennale postponed to August.
International design firm Perkins and Will has closed its offices in China as a precaution, said Miami-based chief executive Larry Kline.
“If it gets worse, it could start to affect funding, equipment availability and costs,” said Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet, founding director of Touzet Studios. “Our global economy is interconnected, and Italy and China are important markets.”
Coronavirus test at Galileo Galilei airport in Pisa, Italy
Daphne Gurri, director / owner of Gurri Matute and current chair of the Miami section of the American Institute of Architects, said the construction and design industry depends on China for metals, drywall and miscellaneous types of plastics.
“If they have to close factories or if production slows down because people don’t go to work, it could affect us,” she said.
However, with their entire careers based on designing imaginative solutions and translating them into practical and real applications, architects are becoming leaders in the fight against the epidemic. Two Chinese hospitals – one with 1,000 beds and one with 1,600 – were built in just 10 days. A Chinese architecture and design firm, Penda China, developed a costume he says can protect carriers from infection.
Long before the coronavirus became a household word, architects had to contend with public health concerns. Anyone designing public or commercial spaces can consider controlling crowds and the spread of germs and pollutants on a daily basis.
Gonzalez Touzet earned LEED AP certification 12 years ago after his son was diagnosed with asthma. His company has designed Lincoln Road’s most notable stores – like Gap, Nike, and Apple – that thousands of shoppers pass through every day. In the designs, she looks for materials that are easy to maintain, mold resistant and promote good indoor air quality.
“No VOC [volatile organic compounds] on painting, paying special attention to moisture and flooring, and specifying better filters and HVAC equipment, ”she said. “Proper maintenance and commissioning are also important. “
Harvard’s School of Public Health Healthy Buildings Program Director explained in a New York Times editorial how managing ventilation, filtration and humidity in a building can either make people sick or keep them healthy.
Gurri, who designs civic projects – including parts of Miami-Dade College and Tyndall Air Force Base – as well as aviation and healthcare facilities, said it incorporates hard materials resistant to viruses or bacteria living on surfaces.
Kline, whose company has developed hospitals and buildings for the life sciences, always tries to create avant-garde and future-ready spaces. He predicted that the coronavirus outbreak could spark new ideas in his field.
“In cases like this, when the health of the world is a consideration, design strategies can change exponentially in future work,” Kline said.
Gurri said if the virus persisted, she could provide for design elements like automatic doors, which open and close without anyone touching them, become more standard or even required by code – maybe not. only for bedroom doors, but for things like wardrobes and drawers.
“Who knows where innovation could lead? ” she said.
Courtesy of Touzet Studio
Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet is the founding director of Touzet Studio.
Beyond the coronavirus, the three architects – who will all be part of the panelists and moderators of Bisnow‘s Architecture and design event on March 16 – said climate change and sea level rise are their next main concerns.
Gonzalez Touzet is working with the University of Miami’s Master of Real Estate Development & Urbanism as chair of the resilience committee, urging the real estate community to take the lead on this front.
She sees the potential in prefabricated materials. The International Energy Agency says that 7% of industrial energy consumption comes from the cement industry, as well as 7% of global emissions.
“Cement is a huge carbon problem, and it’s an industry that hasn’t changed much in 200 years,” said Gonzalez Touzet, adding that this was only part of the solution. “Miami is a leader when it comes to wind codes, and we need to do the same with water and increased heat.”
Immediately, developers are expected to build taller, elevate mechanical / engineering / plumbing equipment, use flood-resistant materials on the ground floor, and incorporate solar energy backups as well as electric fans that prevent growth. mold, she said. Gonzalez Touzet also enjoys working with landscape architects.
“All of our new work has a strong focus on how to live with water: how to store it on site, how to filter it and recycle it,” she said.
A 2016 research paper written by a professor in Vietnam Called “Adaptive Architecture and Infection Prevention in Hospitals” warned that some diseases can spread faster and further in an unstable and warming climate. Architects could counter the spread with ventilation, sunlight, and adaptive finishing materials.
“It’s a time when all stakeholders are on the bridge to find solutions that can be scaled,” she said. “If we really want to take it seriously [being] net zero by 2030 and net zero carbon by 2050, so we’re looking to really look at innovation on the construction side. “