As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, more and more employees are being asked to work from home. Some industries are being hit harder than others, especially the airlines and tourism industry. The worlds stock markets have crashed and businesses are now facing a very uncertain future. Governments around the world are all rallying to contain this virus, emergency services are working tirelessly to support the enormous and ever-increasing task at hand. It’s a chaotic and unimaginable world that could drastically change the future for us all. There could be thousands and potentially millions of people who may not have been directly infected by the virus but who will also suffer, businesses will fail and people will lose their jobs.
In the world of architecture, the pandemic has impacted the industry in a devasting way. There are major delays of materials being delivered, employees confined to home, sites restricting manual staff, while meetings, trade shows and events are all now cancelled. With flight cancellations and the postponement of trade shows to outright country-wide shutdowns, people throughout the architecture industry are all feeling the impact which has devasted the world like nothing seen before.
⦁ The 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice – Postponed until 29 August.
⦁ Festival of design, shanghai – Cancelled.
⦁ Light and building show, Frankfurt – Postponed.
⦁ Brighton design show, Brighton – Cancelled until next year.
⦁ Architecture digest design show, New York – Re-scheduled.
The list above is just a small sample of the affect this pandemic has had on the architecture industry, in fact – there will be no architecture exhibition, seminar, show or event taking place globally for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the outbreak has created a confused and unknown situation that is difficult to ignore or look away from. One of the world’s largest architecture firms has implemented a strict and restrictive measure, around 50% of employees are now working from home, all international travel is banned and face to face meetings also banned. This procedure is not to be taken lightly and while the economic turmoil has changed the way we work and all interact with one another, one thing is certain everyone is prepared to do all they can to prevent the coronavirus spreading.
When a major event like this strikes, the resilience and determination of the governments rely on a quick and immediate response from its country, be it a natural disaster such a wild fire, tsunami or earthquake to immediate evacuation of an entire city. Coronavirus was no exception and China enforced an immediate response to the outbreak by building new hospital facilities to hold the vast numbers of patients. The city of Wuhan, China was believed to be the first point of contact for Coronavirus and when the virus took hold and spread across the city, they took an immediate decision to build new hospitals that would be constructed in a matter of weeks. The Leishenan hospital was constructed in just 10 days, with over 12,000 workers working 24/7 it was a titanic collaboration of the brightest engineers, architects and construction personnel to deliver such a project in this timescale. The new hospital is now treating thousands of patients every day and is going some way towards containing the crisis and isolating the infected from the general population. Incorporated in the design were high tech ventilation systems and a complete isolation which would halt any virus spreading within and outside the facility. How will coronavirus affect the implementation of architecture designs of hospitals of the future? It’s difficult to say. There could be further enhanced sanitary, ventilation and quarantine levels in all medical facilities throughout the world.
The unfolding disaster has yet to reveal the true extent and devastation it has caused around the world; however, china seems to be now heading in the opposite direction of the majority of other countries. Maybe there is hope? Maybe there is way to divert this? It’s still too early to remark on this as the country is still under a very strict curfew and lockdown and only when life goes back to normal and daily interaction is permitted could this positive news be validated. For the time being its difficult to bring any real positivity from the situation we are facing and in reflection I see the wait is far from over, every day new developments and changes are affecting us all. We are all in this together and human determination can succeed.