As we have had life shift around us, at an alarming rate, we have all had to adjust the way we live. Some of us are working on the front lines, in the field of medicine and health care, providing essentials like groceries and pharmaceuticals, or Telecom workers who are keeping us all connected. Others are working from home, caring for children who are no longer in school, and starting to think more creatively in order to offer some sort of ‘normal’ in our daily living.
For many of us, this shift leads us to stay at home, as by orders of our Prime Minister and Ministry of Health have requested. Our homes are likely busier than usual. We have moved furniture around to accommodate for home offices and we have created space for indoor fitness. Our use of space is changing. We sit at the dining room table working, engaging in boardgames and puzzles with housemates, preparing and eating meals. We sit on the couch, in bed, or on our patios on video-chat with loved ones. I’m sure that all of us our considering our home space through new eyes as we contemplate the words ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’. Not one of us has designed our current home with the idea of ‘sheltering in place’ due to a global Covid pandemic. Just weeks ago, we sat in coffee shops, the library, at our friends homes spending our time talking, eating, laughing and relaxing.
At this time, the need for flexible spaces may become more apparent. The life of a home will likely outlive any one individual need for the space it was originally designed to be, if not flexible. When designing a home, the invitation to light a space with windows, warm a space through sustainable resources, or build with reclaimed materials can be made and done once, at the beginning. The use of the space, however, can change. With the designing of open living spaces, we can control how we divide and use these spaces by temporary means that include furniture selection and placement, plants and even temporary walls and dividers. The function and ergonomics of the space can then serve the user in many forms.
As we retreat to our homes, lets consider form and function as we adapt our surroundings to suit our changing needs. And as we step forward, and overcome this global pandemic, lets remember the importance of designing to allow for flexibility in the times that the world and our lives may change in unexpected ways, at any time.
Wishing you and your loved ones peace and good health during this time.