Open spaces or cubicles?
– from Nataliya Sukhova (Transstruktura architects) and Anton (10 Years old), Berlin, 20.05.2020

In the past few months I shared my home office with my son’s home school. One day we drew a couple of pictures together that illustrated our ideas of what our offices and schools would look like in the future after quarantine.

As an architect I am especially interested in the impact the virus will have on our physical, built reality. Will architects still work on the same projects as before? What will become of the “shared spaces” (indoors and outdoors), which have increased exponentially in recent years and have become an integral part of our lives? Will the co-working spaces be filled again in a few months or will we all be stuck in our home offices?

Hopefully the future is not a throwback to the past, to “cubicles” with their own sanitary blocks and coffee machines. Probably the use of space will be at least more conservative again, and “shared desks” and slides (Google office), return to the playground.

How will our living environment change? It was very comfortable to live in a compact apartment in the city centre. You didn’t need a big kitchen or a big living room – you could eat outside and meet friends in a bar. A small children’s room was also enough because the children were at school all day. And now? Obviously, many will review their idea of an ideal apartment.
Will there be a growing demand for large apartments, or will there be transformable apartments where the bedroom becomes the office, then the gym, and finally the living room? Are comfortable folding furniture and sliding walls from the caravan industry now looking forward to their full glory?

In our current project we are planning a sports room. This could become a new trend. No one can guarantee that fitness centres will always remain accessible.

And the city? Recently there has been a clear urban trend for block development quarters – a dense, urban environment with plenty of infrastructure on the ground floors. It is very possible that a modernist “microrayon” with residential towers in a green area with sufficient distance from each other will experience a comeback …
… provided that people stay in the cities and don’t immediately migrate to the villages.

What do you think? Transformation, hybrid forms or back to the roots (like the Hobbits)? I think this quarantine had a good thing: time to think.