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Wellness spaces to acoustic control: How urban home designs have changed after the pandemic

There has been an increasing demand for indoor recreational spaces and multipurpose, flexible designs, writes architect and Apeejay School, Faridabad alumnus Piyush Gaba

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By Piyush Gaba

Amid pandemic-induced lockdowns since 2020, mobility and social interactions got restricted, compelling most of us to stay indoors to avoid contracting the virus. With our home doubling as an office in the wake of remote working, people wanted to redesign indoor spaces not just to accommodate a separate workstation but to create an overall blend between utility and comfort. 

With people voluntarily maintaining social distancing, individual houses came to be preferred over multistoried apartments. They also wanted to consciously avoid common-use facilities like elevators, corridors, garages, staircase and so on.

Post-pandemic, there has been an inclination towards open spaces, courtyards, and balconies, notwithstanding the size or grandeur. Indoor recreational spaces and adaptable, multipurpose, highly flexible designs have seen increasing demand. People prefer modular and foldable furniture and decors which tend to provide more functional benefits as compared to earlier.

Sustainability is another aspect that is often discussed at client meetings. Inbuilt air-purifiers in cars are very common these days and are expected to be included in our regular appliances soon. Green spaces are being preferred in the premises for creating a relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing atmosphere.

With surfaces being a common medium of the transmission of the virus, clients now also ask for bacteria-free wooden boards and many such materials which don’t allow germs to stay on. People have also started adding plants in their living rooms and bedrooms to eliminate viruses from indoor air.

Here are some of the trends:

Kitchen

In terms of the design scheme, we are going back to the basics, thinking first of the things we need, rather than those to impress guests or to make a statement. Large storages for equipment and food items are one of the latest trends.

Wellness spaces

When gyms and fitness classes were closed during the pandemic, working out at home became a temporary solution. However, the convenience of that option has encouraged many to continue home workouts to ensure comfort and safety.

Storage spaces

To avoid shifting household items constantly around the house, people now need spaces with extra storage, a separate storeroom, or multifunctional rooms.

Spaces with acoustic control

With so much happening at home, families found it hard to make space for concurrent activities. School, work meetings, music lessons, and much more—all virtual and often overlapping in scheduled times—challenged families in terms of simply getting the space to focus and not being overheard.

Outdoor living and entertainment zones

Gathering outdoors continues to be a safe method of meeting with friends and family outside the homeowner’s immediate family, so architects are designing more elaborate decks and porches. At the same time, smaller homes have adapted balconies to meet the need. This provides the much-needed air circulation indoors. On the other hand, some may even want to set up outdoor cooking areas, such as permanent sinks, stovetops, grills, and storage, in addition to bar spaces with refrigeration.

Apeejay School Faridabad alumnus Piyush Gaba is Chief Architect, Akaar Architects

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