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Broad Sustainable Buildings
This is the way you mix shipping container transport tech with spaces that work for human beings.

Shipping containers changed the world; because of their standard sizes and those little corner castings, they can move stuff around the world quickly and cheaply. But as we noted in an earlier post on a hospital made of shipping containers, they are not a very good size for people, and certainly not for an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

That's why this new "Restackable COVID Hospital" developed and built by Broad Sustainable Building is so interesting. It is transported as if it was a shipping container and then folds out to make larger spaces. They are not shipping a lot of air; the 3D stuff like the beds, bathrooms are in the core, while the circulation spaces are enclosed by the 2D panels.

I can't overstress the significance of this, and not because I have been saying that this is how it should be done literally for decades, from back when I was in architecture school. Because to reiterate, it adapts the transportability of shipping containers to real human needs, in this case, a working hospital. Here's their iconic timelapse video of the assembly of the hospital in Mungyeong, South Korea.

"Seoul National University has signed the contract with BROAD Group on 8th, March. The turnkey project is delivered less than 30 days after contract-signing while construction is finished in only 2 days. Once equipped with medical devices and sickbeds, the hospital can put into operation immediately on April 1st."

Broad Sustainable Buildings is known to TreeHugger for its prefabricated building systems that famously built 30 story hotels in two weeks and the world's tallest 57 storey prefab in a few months. I was their guest in Changsha for a few weeks and became a big fan of their building system.

I was not so convinced a few years ago when I first saw their BCore CTS panel, a structural sandwich made out of two stainless steel panels separated by stainless steel tubes. Broad claimed that they would "trigger a global and unprecedented lightweight structural material revolution," significantly reduce embodied and operating energy, and being made from stainless steel, " the theoretical service life can reach 10,000 years." It would be fun plugging that into Life Cycle Analysis programs.

But now, these BCore panels look very interesting indeed. As Daniel Zhang of Broad explained to TreeHugger, "The strength comes from the higher weight to strength ratio, the little tubes does all the shear wall, compression work."

First of all, they made the construction of the units really fast, signing a contract on March 8 and delivering on March 27. According to Li Shuai of Broad, "We have to complete all the project from design, production, transportation, construction, installation and commissioning in 20 days."

Another feature of the design is that these units are restackable, "which means stories of the hospital can be added later according to their requirements. Designs of the foundation have been taken into consideration at the beginning. Owing to this, the hospital could be more multifunctional in the future."

The key to solving the shipping container dimension problem is to build the box specifically for the purpose, which is why this one has such a high ceiling, and to unfold the walls so that you can get up to 4.5 m (14.75 feet) inside. That's a dimension you can work with.

Most of our coverage of Broad has been related to their structural systems, but Chairman Zhang Yue actually built the company as a supplier of giant absorption chillers and air conditioning systems, and it produces a lot of air handling and filtration equipment. So they have figured out how to do a ventilation system that maintains negative air pressure in all of the patient rooms more efficiently than conventional systems.

NPI stands for Negative Pressure Isolation. It is an isolation technique used in hospitals and medical centers to prevent cross-contamination from room to room. It includes a ventilation that generates negative pressure to allow air to flow into the isolation room but not escape from the room, as air will naturally flow from areas with higher pressure to areas with lower pressure, thereby preventing contaminated air from escaping the room. This technique is used to isolate patients with airborne contagious diseases such as tuberculosis, i
Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners is seeking permission to split up its residential building at the £9 billion Battersea Power Station redevelopment to create a standalone office

The developers behind the overhaul of the Grade II*-listed south London landmark have submitted a Section 73 planning application to Wandsworth Council, seeking to revise the original plans for 1,300 homes.

The regeneration of Giles Gilbert Scott’s power station, which has been masterplanned by Rafael Viñoly, is midway through construction, though work is currently on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The planned changes include slicing off the southern section of Fosters’ distinctive undulating block along the river – which together with Frank Gehry’s buildings comprises phase 3 – and turning it into an ‘iconic office building’.

Fosters’ building sits opposite Gehry’s titanium-clad building, called The Flower, which remains unchanged in the new plans.

The catalyst for revising the scheme was the demand for offices in the scheme following the letting of space in WilkinsonEyre’s refurbished power station to tech giant Apple.

Battersea Power Station Development Company chief executive Simon Murphy said: ‘This situation has given us cause to rethink our delivery strategy and meet this new demand for offices by bringing forward a portion of floorspace previously earmarked for Phase 4.’

Viñoly’s vision for the riverside site has been divided into phases. SimpsonHaugh and dRMM’s mixed-use first phase, Circus West Village, opened in 2017 while WilkinsonEyre’s phase two refurb of the power station is due to complete in 2021.

A Battersea Power Station Development Company spokesperson said: ‘As part of the phased approach to delivering this project, we continually assess the best mix of uses for each phase to ensure we are complementing the wider local area.

‘We believe that delivering much-needed, high-quality office space earlier than planned, alongside a great selection of shops, cafés, restaurants and the 1,600 new homes already being lived in or under construction will bring further vibrancy to this exciting new neighbourhood.’
Hanley Wood
Stay tuned here to understand, address, and deal with local, state, regional, and national challenges to business, operational, and job-site continuation through the Covid-19 crisis.

There are no playbooks for now.

The ceo of a top-five ranked home builder told me as much, saying, "I hate to say it, but [as a leader], you don't want practice at dealing with what's going on." Unprecedented, sometimes, is actually so.

Leaders in construction and real estate--residential and otherwise--are making the hardest kinds of decisions these days. They're contending with extraordinary, fast-changing conditions on a real-time triage basis--seeing first and foremost to the health and safety of team members, customers, and their complex of partners. At the same time, they must plan. The viability of their firms including their stakeholders' interests faces unprecedented pressure.

Daily war-room style command centers in organizations of all sizes deal with the bi-modal challenges of the coronavirus health threat and the economic, business, and financial turbulence, each of those a shifting ground beneath us, each of them barreling ahead, relentlessly.

Huddles, specifically scheduled to allow home-bound team members ventilate about what they're afraid of, frustrated with, angry at, and confused by, are--we hear--part of the no-longer-virtual connective reality of worklife. We know far more personally about colleagues than ever, we share foxhole prayers, we learn about a different side of so many people we'd been professionally acquainted with for ages. We see their kids, their pets, their interior decorating, their sanctuary at a level we may never before have given one random thought to.

Roiling beneath the dynamics of the moment--a perhaps inevitable accompaniment with high levels of fear--is a big challenge for all. The challenge comes packaged as a four-letter word. Them.

We have two epidemics right now--one, the still-rapidly-spreading novel coronavirus and the other, the volatile fever-chart deterioration of the financial investment markets.

A third contagion, one that sets in motion a new avalanche of "us versus them" feuds, legal battles, and a breakdown of good faith among partners, is one none of us can afford right now. Self-preservation and self-interest and selfishness--at the expense of the greater good--is a very thin line right now, and leadership is the last-best defense against the emergence of this third contagion--an Us Vs. Them battle royal.

We can see it brewing on the "essential services" front--where local, regional, and state jurisdictions declare one policy and national policy may or may not be consistent. We want business continuation and the ability of construction's infrastructure to support the vital stream of activity necessary to sustain existing sheltered space and add new home units into a housing market that sorely needs it, especially now. We also want hard, tangible evidence that owners and supervisors and corporate interests are going to the greatest lengths to ensure the health and safety of not just their own team members but the entire value chain and building lifecycle.

Have a look at our interactive heat-map tracking state and local and national overlays in the "construction as an essential service" conversation. We're hosting a virtual Construction Town Hall that will explore what "essential" means to different people, firms, and stakeholders in construction's lifecycle, what decision-makers need to know, and why it matters so vitally to their businesses as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend operations, job sites, supply chains, flow of funding, and viability.

This will take place Monday, April 6, at 4:30 pm.

I bring it up because I've already been picking up intensifying vibrations among executives--particularly in the lending, borrowing, investment, and investee dynamics. Forbearance, restraint, tolerance, and patience--these tactics need to bind players--those who owe money, those who lend money, those who invest money, those who live hand-to-mouth on today's money, those who've spent tomorrow's money, and those who can continue to make payments.

"What people need to do at their companies is to be true to their promises right now," said one executive who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We can't have everybody at once stop paying their bills right now, and stop abiding by their commitments, or everything will get a whole lot worse."

We're hearing about stress, not just on the health and finance front, but to trust.

Margin calls, loan
Civil | Structural Engineer
Single family home builders are commonly using many green products and practices, especially energy saving ones, but only one third (33 percent) are committed to building green homes. This is the finding of the latest study on green home building from Dodge Data & Analytics, published in the Green Single Family and Multifamily Homes 2020 SmartMarket Brief, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The study reveals a complicated picture about the amount of green building activity currently occurring in the single-family home market. On the one hand, when provided with a stringent, performance-based definition that a green home “incorporates strategies in design and construction that increase energy, water and resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality and minimize environmental impacts on site and/or is certified by a third-party green rating system,” only 33 percent report that this definition applies to 50 percent or more of the homes they build, and 42 percent state that they do no green building projects at all. On the surface, this seems to suggest that the overall commitment to green building among home builders is still somewhat limited.

However, the study also demonstrates that many home builders are in fact using a wide variety of green building products and practices on the majority of their projects. The most prominent investments are those that make homes more energy efficient. Use of LED lighting, energy-efficient appliances and right-sized HVAC systems is very common, with over 70 percent of home builders using each of these in half or more of the homes they construct. In addition, over half of the builders use five other energy-efficient products and practices in the majority of their home projects. This includes windows and insulation that exceed code requirements, a focus on air tightness, and even blower door testing to confirm the tightness of the envelope before they finish the home.

And energy efficiency is not the only green area in which builders are actively engaged. Most builders also employ different water-efficiency products and practices in their homes, from water conserving fixtures and appliances, to efficient plumbing techniques and tankless water heaters. All four of these are used by more than 50 percent of builders on half or more of their home projects. Water conserving strategies inside the home, though, are far more commonly used than those outside the home, such as rainwater collection and reuse, or drip irrigation.

The findings also demonstrate that most builders are invested in building homes that conserve material resources, through their frequent use of durable materials, prefabricated components and minimizing construction waste. They are also widely employing products and practices that improve indoor air quality like direct outdoor ventilation of bathroom fans, kitchen exhausts and clothes dryers, duct insulation and using low VOC materials.

So when it comes to wide consideration of energy and water efficiency, conserving material resources and improving indoor environmental quality, most builders are engaged in ways to improve their homes, even if nearly half of them report that they are doing no green homes.

However, the findings on those dedicated to green building overall do suggest ongoing potential for the share of green to continue to grow in the home building market. The study looked at the top drivers for encouraging more green building, and increased home buyer demand emerged quite strongly as the top factor, ranked among the top three drivers by 66 percent. Conversely, the lack of home buyer demand along with concerns about the price premium to build green, were the top obstacles reported in the study.

Several of the findings in the study suggest ways that the industry can increase homeowner interest in green building and overcome the issue of the price premium. One requires choosing the right market to focus on. The highest percentage of home builders reported that buyers seeking to either upscale or downsize are the most likely to be willing to pay a green premium for a home – so targeting these markets could be useful. And for these two markets, the top features to emphasize are lower operating costs and greater comfort/better occupant experience, according to those with experience selling green homes to these consumers.

Other factors that are curr
Construction Dive
Just like their privately owned counterparts, publicly traded construction firms have scrambled in the past few weeks to react to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Because they perform work in locations across the world, they have been monitoring the virus since its inception in China late last year.

Now, several are taking the unusual step of freezing or even cutting executive pay and shareholder payouts, an unusual move during what had been a positive construction outlook for 2020. In addition, one public company, Fluor Corp., has taken stockholder-related measures to protect itself from the turbulent economic environment.

Balfour Beatty announced last week that its chairman, executive directors, non-executive directors and executive committee will take a 20% reduction in their salaries. It also postponed payout of its 2019 final dividend.​ The London-based firm has struggled in recent weeks to keep its construction sites open in the United Kingdom, which has been hard hit by COVID-19.

Senior executives and board members at Dallas-based Jacobs Engineering are taking a 10% reduction in salary, in part to help support charitable initiatives including a $1 million donation to help global organizations fighting the pandemic, the company said in a statement.

Sweden-based Skanska last week announced that it would not increase fees for its board of directors and would hold off on paying a dividend so that it can carry its 2019 profit plus retained earnings forward. CEO Anders Danielsson said the board would reconsider the dividend in the fall.

Tim Hynes, head of North American research for Debtwire, said many large corporations — such as Disney and United Airlines — are taking the same approach, cutting back on salaries for executives and board members as part of their reaction to the current market turmoil. While it's highly unusual to cut executive pay in what was a booming economy, other scenarios in the past that have led to salary cuts are material earnings misses, a failed company sale or a failed acquisition, Hynes said.

Fluor's poison pill
In a related move, Fluor Corp. leaders announced last week that the company has adopted a limited duration stockholder rights agreement to protect itself against a potential hostile takeover. The move will ensure that stockholders receive fair and equal treatment in the event of any potential takeover through the end of this year, according to a company statement.

The agreement, also known as a “poison pill” provision, will not prevent a takeover, but will encourage any individual or group seeking to acquire the company to negotiate with the board prior to attempting a takeover. The rights will be exercisable only if a person or group acquires 10% or more of the company’s outstanding common stock.

"This limited duration rights agreement will protect stockholders from efforts to capitalize on recent market volatility as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alan Boeckmann, Fluor’s executive chairman, in a statement.

Other U.S. corporations have also announced rights agreements in recent days, including Spirit Airlines and Williams Cos., an energy infrastructure firm. In mid-March, activist investor Carl Icahn increased his stake in Occidental Petroleum Corp to almost 10% in a fight to take control of the oil producer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Changing conditions
At the company’s video-streamed general meeting last week attended by only a limited number of people, Skanska’s Danielsson said the company is continuously reviewing its operations because conditions are changing from day to day.

“During the spread of the coronavirus, many questions have been raised about market and demand and it remains to be seen how we will be affected in a long-term perspective,” he said.

Balfour Beatty said in a statement last week that it cannot forecast the crisis’ impact on the firm’s 2020 outlook and will “provide further updates on its trading performance as and when appropriate."

While work is stalled or shut down on many projects, some public contractors have pivoted to work on pandemic-related projects. Jacobs’ CEO Steve Demetriou said in a statement this week that several of its federal and local government contracts are being refocused on COVID-19 response activities, including:
  • FEMA and U.S. A
Luca Bravo
ith more than 160,000 known cases and 3,400 deaths in the United States estimated as of today, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has already resulted in the unexpected closure of countless museums, restaurants, bars, schools, and other establishments integral to the country’s economic growth. A record 3.3 million people have already filed for unemployment within the last few weeks with many more expected on the way, leaving the subject of housing as one of the most pressing issues among city and state officials.

Within the last week, prior to the April 1 deadline at which most rent and mortgage checks are expected under normal conditions (aka today), state officials have independently announced eviction moratoriums with varying term dates. In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo released an executive order on March 7 that includes a 90-day eviction moratorium, while California Governor Gavin Newsom, at the helm of the most populous state in the country with over 40 million residents, released a similar order that prevents residential evictions for two months to those who have been laid off due to the pandemic. “For tenants, there will be no eviction proceedings; there will be no enforcement as it relates to pay for COVID-19,” said Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Times. Renters in both states will, however, have to make up the rent they owe after their respective moratorium periods, and rent payments are expected of those who do not provide written testimony that they are unable to pay them (The Hill reports, meanwhile, that New York state lawmakers are working on a rent suspension bill that is currently in committee but will likely be held up by Governor Cuomo).

While many might be relieved to learn they can stave off eviction until they find the necessary funds, affordable housing leaders feel the measures are minimal and shortsighted. “I think we’re deeply disappointed that it isn’t just a blanket moratorium on evictions,” said Francisco Dueñas of the California-based advocacy group Housing Now. Residents of major American cities have called upon government officials to institute rent freezes and other initiatives to stave off the financial hardships being felt across the country. Over 15,000 Chicagoans, for example, have signed an online petition spearheaded by a tenants union that includes a city-wide freeze on rent, utility payments, and mortgages, according to The Chicago Tribune. More than 82,000 residents of New York City have signed a similar petition seeking to ensure that “every New Yorker is safely housed.”

At a time when housing security has never been more important to obtain, a unified message of dissatisfaction is likely to become amplified over the coming weeks as millions of renters make the difficult choice between pouring into their savings, writing pleas to their landlords, and participating in a burgeoning nation-wide strike (made visible through the growing #RentStrike hashtag on Twitter).

The delayed governmental reaction to the pandemic felt among renters is shared among homeless Americans, some of whom have already taken the matter into their own hands. Homeless families in Los Angeles, for instance, have seized vacant homes owned by the city to protect themselves against the health crisis during the shelter in place order.

Daily Mail / SOLO Syndication
The exhibition at Vitra Design Museum in Germany revives 20 iconic interiors. It's an ambitious task, writes our correspondent, but one that's ultimately successful.

Though its building is comparably small in size, Vitra Design Museum’s exhibitions are never lacking in ambition. Placed inside a twisted Frank Gehry–design building from 1989 on the Swiss-German border—his first building in Europe—the museum is grounded in the legacy company’s vast collection of about 7,000 pieces of furniture, which also encompasses the estates of the Eameses, Verner Panton, Alexander Girard, and George Nelson. Thematically the museum focuses on interior design and architecture and never misses an opportunity to include Vitra designs and products in its exhibitions. In this regard, Home Stories: 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors, the museum’s newest exhibition, is no exception.

But Home Stories is nonetheless led by a bold and fascinating conceit: selecting 20 “visionary interiors” from 1920–2020 to represent the “history of the home,” where, as curator Jochen Eisenbrand puts it, “important societal, political, urban, and technical shifts” are reflected. This is as major an undertaking as it sounds and one thing is certain: After a visit to the exhibition, your head will spin.

The survey unfolds backwards in time, stretching from some small-sized, pastel colored contemporary refurbishments (an apartment in Madrid by Elii, and a community housing in London by Assemble) to eye-blindingly colorful explosions of Postmodernism (Memphis Group) through Verner Panton’s “Phantasy Landscape,” and into Claude Parent’s “oblique” apartment in France and Andy Warhol’s “Silver Factory.” You’ll know you’ve reached the end of the exhibition when you encounter the classics of early Modernism. There, Mies van der Rohe’s Villa Tugendhat and Josef Frank’s Villa Beer demonstrate that the 1920s held multiple Modernisms—and Elsie de Wolfe’s Villa Trianon, where ornament is laid on thick, augments the argument for a more complex telling of interior design throughout the century.

To include all this in its limited space, the curators had to reduce all 20 interiors to their core—each is represented by one large image on a wall, foregrounded by a podium holding a handful of related pieces of furniture and sometimes a model.

Does the curatorial strategy work? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, reproducing a genuine sense of atmosphere for any of these interiors is near impossible. (Isn’t “home” all about the sense of the space—its acoustics, smell, and feel?) On the other hand, the exhibition creates some important, original, and fun connections between ideas and places. The Smithsons’ House of the Future, for example, is directly adjacent to the fictitious Villa Arpel from Jacques Tati’s satirical and highly anti-modern film Mon Oncle. Elsewhere in the exhibition, a single viewpoint combines Finn Juhl’s house in Denmark (1942) and Lina Bo Bardi’s “Casa de Vidro” in Brazil (1950) with Bernard Rudofsky’s Nivola House-Garden in Long Island (1950)—early examples of dissolving the boundaries between indoor and outdoor, through a global perspective. The exhibition’s 300-plus-page catalog is also recommended; it richly documents all 20 interiors, amounting to a history of 20th-century interior design, with contributions by Alice Rawsthorne, Jasper Morrison, and Joseph Grima, and with interviews with the likes of contemporary figures such as Apartamento founder Nacho Alegre and designer Sevil Peach.
Dutch architecture practice UNStudio has recreated a typical Dutch townhouse's facade in bricks made from stainless steel and glass for Louis Vuitton's store on Amsterdam shopping street PC Hooftstraat.

Named The Brick Pixelation by UNStudio, the store for Louis Vuitton is on luxury shopping street PC Hooftstraat.

The store at 140-142 is directly next door to The Looking Glass, which was also designed by the architecture studio, and along the street from MVRDV's Crystal House.

On the lower floor of the building's facade, which contains the store, traditional bricks have been replaced with stainless steel bricks with glass inlays that create a pixelated effect.

"The tapered stainless steel bricks, while following the pattern and scale of the traditional brick facades that line this street, create a distinctive textured and detailed appearance that contrasts with other buildings," said UNStudio.

"The glass inlays give the facade a semi-transparent quality and make it possible for the facade to be illuminated from within the bricks."

The decision to create a facade using an alternative brick reflects both the traditional townhouses on the street and The Looking Glass next-door.

"The design reinterprets the traditional brick facades of the other townhouses that line the PC Hooftstraat through materiality, but especially, and intentionally, contrasts to The Looking Glass," explained UNStudio.

"Where The Looking Glass display windows protrude and flow over two floors, at 140-142 the windows slant inwards and are more traditionally scaled on the second floor."

"Overall scale is an important factor: in the Glass House both the concept and resulting design present a 'big detail', whereas in 140-142 the focus is on fine detailing," continued UNStudio.

"Both projects however, are inspired by fabric and couture clothing, involve a high degree of craftsmanship, and present different ways to approach 'standing out while fitting in'."

Above the store are three apartments on the first and second floors, which have a brickwork facade similar to that of a traditional Dutch townhouse. The apartments are entered from a door that is made from the same stainless steel bricks, but with an opaque glass inlay.

UNStudio is an Amsterdam-based architecture practice established by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos in 1988. It is currently creating the "smartest neighbourhood in the world" in the south of the Netherlands and is masterplanning a smart city in Bangalore.
A group of young architects in the United Kingdom have launched a petition calling for the shutdown of construction sites, in the midst of widespread lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Architecture Foundation’s Young Network said in their petition, “Construction workers are unable to do their work and social distance at the same time putting the health of themselves and in turn their families and the wider public at risk.

“All other industries have sacrificed progression and profit for this public health crisis and the construction industry must do the same. This decision should not be left to site managers and developers we need a government mandate to close all non-essential construction sites. This will allow contract administrators to grant extensions of time for force majeure so relevant insurances can come into effect.”

More than 1,600 people have signed the petition at the time of publication.

In Australia, the National Cabinet has deemed constuction work an essential activity. Peak architecture bodies are also generally supportive of keeping the industry going, and in some cases increasing the level of development and construction. In a letter to the federal government published on 25 March, the leadership of the Australian Institute of Architects said that “keeping construction running” and “bringing forward infrastructure programs and projects” as “key actions for Australia to weather this storm.”

A number of workers on several construction sites in Australia have tested positive for COVID-19, On 31 March a worker at the Multiplex’s Melbourne Square designed by Cox Architecture, where construction is underway on a major six-tower project in the central city, tested positive for the virus. Earlier in March a subcontractor for Kane Construction working on the University of Melbourne’s New Student Precinct, designed by a team led by Lyons Architecture, has also tested positive for COVID-19.

Construction worker unions have generally warned against work stoppages. Writing for socialist publication Red Flag on 24 March, tradesman Ryan Stanton argued that unions were not, however, acting in the best interest of the health of workers, with conditions on site conducive to spreading the virus.

“My jobsite has over 250 workers, all of whom share a break room that is barely large enough for us to sit in and eat at the same time,” Stanton wrote. “It is impossible to socially distance while at work, and many of us catch public transport, furthering our exposure to infection. These construction sites are perfect for spreading the viral outbreak.”

The Master Builders Association, in conjunction with the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Australian Workers Union (AWU), have launched an advertising campaign to promote social distancing and good hygiene practices building sites.

The question of whether such projects should continue to operate is being answered differently around the world. In New Zealand, for example, construction has not been listed as an essential service, and all sites have been closed as part of a nationwide lockdown. Representatives of the industry are calling for systems to be designed that allow for sites to reopen safely, as business struggle to stay afloat with all projects paused.
Feilden Fowles
London-based architecture practice Feilden Fowles has won an international design competition to create the new Central Hall for the National Railway Museum in York, England. Slated for completion in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2025, the new centerpiece building will vastly improve the visitor experience while introducing an ambitious energy strategy to dramatically cut the site-wide operational carbon footprint by 80%. Following the firm’s low-tech philosophy, the design will minimize reliance on concrete and steel in favor of prefabricated timber materials while emphasizing passive design strategies.

In winning the two-phase design competition organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants, Feilden Fowles beat 75 other design firms with their Central Hall proposal that pays homage to the site’s former uses. The building’s central two-story rotunda is directly inspired by the history of locomotive roundhouses and railway turntables. Recycled patinated copper will clad the structure, the interior of which will feel warm and inviting thanks to a predominately timber palette and the abundance of natural light that flows through high clerestory glazing and a skylight fitted in the center of its beautifully engineered roof structure.

The new welcome and orientation space will host a wide variety of programming, including gallery spaces for the museum’s world-class collection, recreational areas, retail and public-facing community spaces. The Central Hall also connects to the five museum portals: the main entrance, Great Hall, Wonderlab, Exhibition Hall, the shop and a new cafe.

Sustainability is a major driving factor behind the Central Hall, a timber-framed building that will be built with traditional, locally sourced materials wherever possible. In addition to the creation of a new energy center with air-source or ground-source heat pumps powered by solar energy, the building follows passive solar principles to enhance thermal comfort and reduce reliance on mechanical systems. Larger spanning and prefabrication of timber elements will also be used to ensure higher quality control and to reduce construction waste.

We began 2020 with the same unbridled optimism with which most new years start. Then our world was unexpectedly turned upside down by coronavirus. In a matter of weeks, we went from a thriving economy, and record low unemployment and vacancy rates in the U.S., to a world nearly shut down by a global pandemic. At the time this article was written, there were more than 450,000 confirmed cases globally, with the numbers increasing daily by the thousands and a world marked by social distancing and quarantines.

And still, the story is not one of all doom and gloom—nitrogen dioxide levels over China have dropped since the mandated quarantine, marine life is returning to the waterways in Italy, and families across the world are forced to slow down and enjoy family dinners, game nights in, and more quality time together.

Yet on the A&D front, business is anything but usual. As an industry that thrives on creative inspiration and human interaction, we’ve been forced almost overnight to transition to a near-complete remote existence.

So, as we tread forward, ThinkLab would like to share insights to help your team transition. Much like our typical research approach, we couple our firsthand knowledge of the topic with crowdsourced information to distill succinct insights as to how to make this easier on you and your team. Here are some thoughts and newfound silver linings in our current scenario from a team that has been 100 percent remote since inception.

Recognize the physical transition is just the tip of the iceberg.

While it is natural to focus on things like ergonomics, good lighting for our newfound affinity for video calls, and other tools to do our job, the physical transition is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also a mental adjustment when you have to completely (and quickly) reframe your workflow from in person to digital as well as—in this instance—a very real underlying emotional one.

While our team has been working remotely since its inception in 2015 (and thus the physical and mental transition is near nonexistent for us), we have had to recognize and acknowledge intense emotions caused by this rapid transition. But after seeing your CMO call in from his daughter’s Frozen 2 bedroom, interruptions from 2-year-old “coworkers,” and the joy of “furry roommates” now on work calls, perhaps this will serve to rehumanize the work experience in the end.

Remote work for designers: Actually, we can!

As part of humanizing, we are also hopeful this makes more room for flexibility for the dual-working families, hobbyists, and empty nesters that love to travel but also love to work. In the past, we were told that our industry couldn’t exist remotely. After all, the creative process feeds on interaction with peers. But in a few short weeks, we’re proving the naysayers wrong, and in a very positive, productive way.

As one designer shares, “Management’s typical excuse for not allowing work from home is that the work needs to be done in the office because of team collaboration, software availability, and keeping an eye on people working. I’m happy to say that we are blowing all of those misconceptions out of the water! Now they don’t have a leg to stand on, and I’m hoping it will lead to more flexibility industry-wide.”

While the thought of a digital product preview or an online client presentation may have been unheard of in the past, today it’s the only way we can keep business moving. And we are taking notes along the way, with the hopes of implementing some real change for our industry’s method of working after the dust settles. We just hope the immersive part of this transition doesn’t scare people away from the idea of flexible remote work.

The biggest shift in remote working is transitioning from owning your time to owning your results.

While many focus on where time is spent, we suggest instead focusing on agreed-upon deadlines and timelines, then ensuring those deliverables are hit.

And while it’s natural for employers to be worried about the underperformers getting their work done when they are not physically seen, our advice is to instead worry about burnout. In scenarios like these, it’s oftentimes your type A’s you may want to worry about most. In this uncertain time, these workers often resort to their job as a sense of relief and
Clarus, the industry leader in glassboard innovation, has provided Clarus™ Healthboards to Seattle Puget Sound VA Medical Center in rapid time to help the site build out their COVID-19 clinic. In this current health crisis, healthcare workers on the front lines administrating care need to reduce bacteria transmission in every way possible in an effort to provide clean, sterile environments for patients.

Clarus glassboards are essential in hospital settings to enable critical communication between doctors and patients. More importantly, healthcare settings require non-porous, anti-microbial fixtures and surfaces to adhere to the strict sanitation requirements. In a recent study, Clarus glassboards outperformed traditional whiteboards, proving that even after extensive bacteria exposure, the boards were fully sanitized to a food-grade safe level.1

"At Clarus, we are passionate about what we do, and we are passionate about helping others and making a difference whenever we can. Every day, we support the healthcare industry by manufacturing glass-writable surfaces that are non-porous and easily disinfected," said Marc Mansell, CEO at Clarus. "You can imagine the amount of coordination and communication taking place today in hospitals around the world as healthcare staff fight COVID-19. When my team heard about the VA hospital challenge, they eagerly jumped into action. It's one of the great things about having your own manufacturing capabilities – our team took this request, produced it within hours, and had it immediately on its way to the people that needed it. I'm very proud of the team and how they responded. We're all eager to support our healthcare professionals in any way we can in this ongoing crisis."

Clarus™ Healthboard is an innovative glass dry erase board that's designed specifically for the demanding needs of the current healthcare industry. Clarus is working with key hospital supply chain, procurement and purchasing professionals to deliver durable and anti-microbial Healthboards, directly to where they are needed most.
The pandemic is already reshaping our ideas of home to emphasis wellness, hygiene, and work/life balance.

It’s official. As a native New Yorker, the city I love has now evolved into the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. A field hospital has been retrofitted inside the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center while emergency hospital tents are being erected in Central Park. As 8.5 million residents try to practice social distancing, sheltering in place, and self-isolation, New York City architects and designers have scattered, relocating multidisciplinary offices into their own homes.

A mere month ago, the National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Census Bureau projected an uptick in home building for 2020, but as residential construction—and life as we know it—is on pause, Dwell asked a roster of young and established New York architects to project how the new coronavirus will reshape building, work lives, and the future of home design.

Morris Adjmi was eager to discuss work and how his multifaceted practice has transformed overnight into a 100% virtual firm. Adjmi’s current team of 120 employees is dispersed throughout the New York metropolitan area, Philadelphia, and a small satellite office located in New Orleans, where Adjmi was born—and is staying currently.

"I think productivity has been high, but it’s hard for people to stay mentally engaged," he says about the current emotional state of his workforce. With ongoing projects on the boards including a dormitory complex in California, Adjmi insists that video conferencing helps preserve a semblance of normalcy as the office continues to maintain a connection through private team meetings, studios, and staff gatherings.

While working remotely is now routine, it will take discipline to adjust to conducting design charrettes—an intense, collaborative problem-solving process—while home alone. Juergen Riehm, cofounder and partner with David Piscuskas at 1100 Architects, says, "The outcome of this crisis may be a renewed sense of appreciation for domestic space."

Working from his New York base, Riehm adds, "In the process of being sequestered for such a long period of time, clients and designers will think anew about making environments that are comforting, efficient, and safe. Over the last few decades, with more days on airplanes, nights in hotels, and meals on the go, home for many people had become a place to drop your bags and sleep a few nights a week. If anything, this pandemic has forced a widespread consideration of domestic environments."

"This crisis also underscores the importance of investing in sustainable and resilient infrastructure," says Riehm, citing a potential increase in built-in amenities including more pantry space and storage. He also stresses a continued reliance on large-scale appliances and an intensified dependency on Internet connection.

Joel Sanders of JSA Architects predicts that the pandemic, "like 9/11, will have an enormous impact on public space because of social distancing and fear of contamination." He foresees these concerns finding their way into the home, impacting space in more subtle ways, like the distancing of furniture arrangements and domestic footprints shifting to include "safe" rooms to isolate contagious occupants.

Both Sanders and Adjmi also forecast an increased emphasis on health and hygiene, with a compartmentalization of spaces including entries, foyers, and mudrooms, incorporating sanitation stations to wash, disinfect, and remove contaminated clothing. Adds Tang, "There will be an increased interest in commercial-grade plumbing fixtures, including foot-pedal sinks along with sensor-operated appliances like air dryers for the home."

Tribeca Duplex by Young Projects

This attention to sanitation, however, won’t necessarily give rise to sterile-looking environments. According to Bryan Young, principal of Young Projects, "Fundamental qualities of wellness are even more meaningful for adapting to a post-coronavirus environment, incorporating natural light, natural ventilation, connection to green spaces and landscape. Architect Michael K. Chen echoes this view: "I don’t personally see the emergence of a biomedical aesthetic in the near future; rather, I think the obsession with the aesthetics of wellness, biophilia, and hearth and home will continue to predominate."

Pre-War Park Avenue Apartment by Michael K. Chen Architects

Architects Max Worrell and Jejon Yeung, cofounders and partne
nic lehoux
olson kundig designed this high-tech west hollywood retreat to take in sweeping views across los angeles, from the san gabriel mountains to the pacific ocean. located just above the sunset strip, the residence offers spectacular views from all parts of the house, while taking advantage of the climate of southern california. as they client enjoys spending time outdoors, the architects sought to blur the boundaries between internal and external space — encouraging outdoor living as much as possible.

the main level of the olson kundig-designed home, titled ‘collywood’, contains the kitchen and a sequence of dining and living areas. here, a series of retractable window walls open on to outdoor terraces that wrap around the exterior. furthermore, sliding window walls in the living area, kitchen, and north bedroom complement a pair of ‘guillotine’ window walls in the dining area and two pivoting window walls on the south side of the living area.

the main terrace, adjacent to the dining and living spaces, leads to a swimming pool overlooking a grove of olive trees on the hillside below. this connection with the outdoors continues on the upper level, which contains the master bedroom and a den, home gym, and a series of roof decks. the lower level reflects the client’s personal interests and hobbies, containing an auto gallery, game room, and media room. a large outdoor terrace extends from the auto gallery, cantilevering out over the hillside.

‘this home navigates many different scales: the larger landscape scale of los angeles, the scale of entertainment and large group gatherings, and the intimate scale of spaces for daily living,’ explains tom kundig. ‘I’m most excited about how the design intertwines these scales and allows the client to expand or contract the home depending on changing needs.’

Gillian Jackson
Canadian firm Ancerl Studio has designed a pair of houses in Toronto to make them look like a single building.

The two houses are located on very tight lots on Sorauren Street in the city's Parkdale neighbourhood, as is typical in Toronto's residential neighbourhoods.

Called 116 Sorauren and 118 Sorauren, they each have angled roofs that are intended to look like one pitched roof from a distance. But they are separated by a slender gap.

"The detached homes have been conceptualised to visually appear as one single volume defined by its traditional triangular architecture," said the studio. "Only from up close will the observer notice a crisp breakpoint between the properties."

The two four-storey homes are also clad in different materials: one is covered in weathered wood, while the other has brick walls.

Visitors enter the long, narrow properties into a foyer, which reveals sightlines to the open living area and back yard. "With great attention to space planning and through the creation of awe-inspiring open volumes, the guests are fully engaged as they explore the property," Ancerl Studio said.

At the centre of the homes is a central staircase, illuminated by a skylight and clerestory windows.

Both properties include three bedrooms. In Sorauren 116, the master suite occupies the entire top floor of the house. A balcony opens from the bedroom towards the backyard, and the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a spacious walk-through closet.

In the other home, the master suite also occupies an entire floor. A catwalk traverses above the kitchen, living and dining room to connect the master bathroom to the bedroom.

The interiors feature a variety of finishes, such as steel, reclaimed wood, weathered bricks and minimal strip light fixtures. "The Sorauren Houses merge Canadian heritage with touches of industrialism in a relevant statement of modernity," the studio added.

Ancerl Studio was founded by Nicholas Ancerl and is based in Toronto neighbourhood's North York. Its previous projects include the transformation of a Toronto house into "modern yet warm" residence.

In the same city, COMN Architects has divided a single-family lot into two homes, a property that the architects live in, and an income-producing property that they rent out to tenants.

Reigo and Bauer have also built a small home on a subdivided lot in the city, which the owners wanted to move into to downsize their living space.
Shao Feng/NBBJ
The complex sprawls over a 4.3 million-square-foot project site—with an 80,000-seat, lotus-inspired stadium at its center.

A new multipurpose Olympic sports center in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province, offers a glimpse of how China’s architectural landscape is evolving. What was once an unfettered creative playground for the exotic and sometimes downright bizarre has shifted into something more considered, with sustainable, innovative, and context-specific architecture on the rise.

“It is no longer a case of ‘build it and they will come,’” says Robert Mankin of architecture firm NBBJ, who won the project through a competitive bid process in 2009. “Here our municipal client was very conscious about not creating something just for show. They wanted to go beyond the conceptual, to make it something of Hangzhou.”

The complex, which will serve the 2022 Winter Games, sprawls over a 4.3 million-square-foot project site on the Qiantang riverfront. At its center is an 80,000-seat stadium featuring a gleaming facade of 28 pairs of entwined steel petals—a reference to the nearby West Lake’s famed lotus flowers, bringing traditional motifs together with new architecture.

“Second-tier cities like Hangzhou are very exciting because they have a different scale and distinctive personality,” Mankin says. “Hangzhou has a beautiful lake in the center of the city and a wonderful history with villas, temples, and walkways. We wanted to keep a sense of the spirit of the city.”

NBBJ partner Jonathan Ward says that parametric modeling during schematic design was key to refining the light, open, and welcoming human phenomenological experience. The system allowed for the architects to make quick and efficient changes, avoiding traditional “build-test-discard” methods and enabling a reduction of steel by around 67 percent when compared to similar stadiums.

“Getting proportions right in terms of massing and scale was very important and we were able to build in more and more intelligence, modifying the design and making quite complicated changes in parallel with the engineers, BuroHappold Engineering,” Ward explains.

Though the petals’ double curvature is complex to fabricate, the petals were designed to use repeating modular elements that ease their on-site assembly.

Reflecting a growing trend to enhance stadiums, which today are expected to accommodate more than just sports, the stadium was designed for multiple uses. There are two levels for spectators, and a basement retail level that connects with a nearby transit station, restaurants, a cinema, and exhibition and convention centers. The architecture retains an interesting perspective from both within and without, avoiding the more usual inward-looking, fortress-style stadium structure.

Pedestrian circulation throughout the site operates over three levels and links an adjacent 10,000-seat NBBJ-designed tennis stadium through a landscaped network of pathways, gardens, and sunken spaces and courtyards, part of the master plan also conceived by the firm. The petal language of the larger structure carries over into the tennis stadium, connecting the two buildings visually.

“We thought very carefully about how people would inhabit the place when an event is not going on, so instead of inhospitable paved plazas there are meandering pathways that interact with the landscape and water,” Mankin explains.

Perhaps one of the most promising signs of change is that the poor workmanship which has plagued contemporary buildings in China—the price of construction at breakneck speed—reportedly does not appear to have been an issue here.

To some extent this may be because the project was awarded over a decade ago; in the years since, Hangzhou has focused its attention and budget on a number of other major building initiatives, giving the architects who worked with local architectural firm China Construction Design International time to collaborate more closely with the contractor on fine-tuning the design and keeping an eye on quality.

While Mankin agrees time has been on their side, he is adamant about a significant improvement in the understanding of sustainable design and building quality when it comes to cultural landmarks.

“We have seen a growing sense of civic responsibility where a world-class, high-performing building is just as important as creating an icon. Ten years ago these issues were not even part of the conversation,” he says.
Dinesh Mehta and Sanjay Puri
Mumbai-based firm Sanjay Puri Architects has just completed work on a beautiful hotel in northern India known for wine production. Built on a base of locally-sourced natural stone, the Aria Hotel is a stunning design carefully stacked onto the landscape that boasts several passive and active features to make it incredibly energy efficient.

Located in the ancient city of Nashik in the northern Indian region of Maharashtra, the beautiful hotel is located right on the banks of the Godavari River. The idyllic location includes the river on one side and rising hills on the other, providing guests with a beautiful area to reconnect with nature.

According to the architects, no soil was taken out of the site or brought into the site during the construction process to protect the natural topography. Stacked multiple levels high, the hotel is built on a base of locally-sourced natural black basalt stone.

The north side of the building includes several modules with large balconies that look out over the river. Throughout the suites as well as the common areas, the hotel boasts an abundance of natural light thanks to several floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Additionally, the spaces, including the main courtyards, are naturally ventilated, further reducing the hotel’s energy usage.

The hotel meets an estimated 50% of its energy needs thanks to a rooftop solar array. In addition to its clean energy generation, the hotel was installed with a rainwater collection system that provides water for irrigation.

All of the luxury units boast large rectangular balconies that are angled to frame the incredible views of the river landscape. However, these angled outdoor spaces with overhanging roofs were also specifically designed to provide shade and minimize heat gain throughout the interior spaces.

House of Representatives
The coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of normal life across the globe, and the architecture and design professions are no exception. According to a new report from the AIA, two thirds of firms have seen prospective projects slow or stop, and more than three-quarters have already faced problems with current projects due to the outbreak. The practices surveyed also reported that they expect to see revenues fall by 10 percent in March, then 15 percent in April. Staff in nearly half of all offices that responded to AIA are already working remotely—a fact that can bring its own set of challenges.

On the afternoon of Friday, March 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—a $2 trillion rescue package, which the Senate unanimously passed on March 25. President Donald Trump signed it into law shortly thereafter. The bill is the third federal law passed in response to the current pandemic (two others were passed on March 6 and March 18), and the largest government financial package ever by far, with implications for individuals, small and large businesses, hospitals and public health agencies, state and local governments, education, and the federal safety net.

“Workers and employers need immediate relief, and we’re grateful that Congress acted swiftly to approve bipartisan legislation to aid businesses of all sizes,” 2020 AIA President Jane Frederick, FAIA, said in a statement.

Among the most notable components of the bill are the one-time cash payments that some people—all those earning up to $99,000—can expect to receive. Individuals who make up to $75,000 annually will receive $1,200, plus $500 for each child in their household. (Higher earners, up to the $99,000 cutoff, will receive smaller checks.)

An explainer from the AIA (PDF) breaks down the ways this legislation will have an impact on the architectural profession. Here are some highlights:

The CARES Act boosts unemployment assistance through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which increases benefits to those unable to work due to the pandemic by $600 per week for four months. It also widens the scope of who is eligible to receive those benefits by including self-employed people, freelancers, and contractors.

The bill authorizes $349 billion (to be spent through the end of 2020) for a Paycheck Protection Program, offering loans of up to $10,000 to sole-proprietors and small businesses (1 to 500 employees) to cover salaries, paid sick leave, insurance, and mortgage, rent, and utilities. Funds used within 8 weeks of receiving the loan may be converted to a grant, “to encourage businesses to retain their employees,” notes the AIA.

Mid-sized businesses (500 to 10,000 employees) may be eligible for loans with zero interest for the first 6 months (then 2 percent interest annually), provided that funds are used to retain 90 percent of their employees at full salary/benefits, through September 30.

And businesses of all sizes—including self-employed people—can defer paying social security tax to the federal government until the end of 2021. Also, businesses that were fully or partially closed due to a shut-down order, or that experienced a 50 percent or greater decline in gross receipts, can expect a payroll tax credit representing 50 percent of wages they paid to employees during the pandemic.

Read more about the bill in this summary from the AIA.
Iwan Baan
The Boston- and Kigali, Rwanda-based practice is launching a response to the spread of COVID-19, and making available information and best practices developed over a decade of designing to minimize the spread of infection.

Boston- and Kigali, Rwanda–based MASS Design Group has announced a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that includes creating open-source resources for designers "to employ in adapting our domestic, commercial, residential, and public spaces into spaces that will keep us safe," according to the firm's website.

MASS is no stranger to designing for infection control: Its first project was the design of the Butaro District Hospital in Butaro, Rwanda, which was designed to provide health care to nearly 350,000 people that had been going without, in a country that had been ravaged by years of genocide and resultant health care crises, including epidemics of infectious diseases such as cholera and tuberculosis. The District Hospital, which was completed in 2011, was designed, according to the firm, "to mitigate and reduce the transmission of airborne disease through various systems, including overall layout, patient and staff flows, and natural cross-ventilation." The firm later went on to design facilities for the Butaro Cancer Center; the GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital and Cholera Treatment Centers in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti (2015); and Boston Healthcare for the Homeless (2016); among others, as well as helping governments develop design standards to minimize infection, such as its work with the ministry of health of Liberia to develop health care design standards for post-Ebola recovery.

"In the last 10 years, we have spent time working in the middle of three different epidemics, and have developed a practice in response to the consideration of how buildings might respond as well as protect against future epidemics," says Michael Murphy, co-founding principal of MASS. "In each case—cholera, tuberculosis, and Ebola—I think it has taught us to think more deeply about the way in which buildings and the built environment must be constantly adaptive, designed purposefully for its context, and consider the long term-implications on the health of the people it serves."

The current global pandemic is increasing a focus on infection control outside of health care environments, and the first resource MASS has made available as part of its response is a list of best practices for designing spaces for infection control, which has already been posted on the site. The best practices include: "Design for social distance, not isolation; Rethink material selection and treatment of surfaces; Make your spaces breathe better; Temporary shelters are never temporary; and Design for people, not just against pathogens." These topic areas address everything from improving ventilation in existing spaces to thinking about materials selection in projects going forward—especially given the changing nature of infectious diseases. More tools and resources will follow in the coming weeks, and the firm is also soliciting questions and design solutions through an email form on its website.

"We just want to be a resource for people to reach out to and connect," Murphy says. "There are spatial decisions that are being made today that will have long-term implications a year from now. If the spatial disciplines are at the table, we can help in the decision-making process as we respond in the coming weeks. There's an incredible amount of need for designers and architects to be of service."

To learn more, and to download this resource and more as they become available, visit massdesigngroup.org/covidresponse.
Bob Greenspan Photography
Working remotely? Take some inspiration from these homes from the Dwell community that caught our editor’s eye this week.

1. 19th Street Residence

Architect: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, Location: Santa Monica, California

From the architect: "He wanted a great yard, she wanted a great room. They both desired a home with a strong beating heart for themselves and their two teenage children. This modern family practices togetherness, not hanging out in separate rooms. The architects’ assignment was to design an appealing centralized habitat for all members of the household to use and enjoy."

2. Inwood Place

Architect: Tim Cuppett Architects, Location: Austin, Texas

From the architect: "When midcentury enthusiasts purchased the original 1,800-square-foot home, it had long been forgotten about and was nearly reclaimed by the native vegetation of an adjacent creek. The existing house, crammed against the far property line, was dwarfed by an apartment complex visible to the rear. Low ceilings and deep overhangs made for a relentlessly dark interior, further diminishing what little appeal remained of the property. The existing house was gutted and reconfigured. In doing so, the cul-de-sac on which the home sits is partially restored to its midcentury roots."

3. The Studio

Architect: FORWARD Design | Architecture, Location: Prairie Village, Kansas

From the architect: "This project entailed the design and build out of a 120-square-foot backyard studio space to house the essentials of the design studio. This small space was shaped to include room for two employees, small meetings, copy printing, storage, and shelving for the extensive firm library. The intent of the project was to produce a low-cost alternative to a long-term lease for the start-up design studio."

4. Backyard Office + Workshop

Architect: Studio Zerbey Architecture & Design, Location: Seattle, Washington

From the architect: "This design is for the conversion of an existing detached garage and carport. It includes a small addition in front of the carport (the only area where the land use code allows us to expand the structure), a roof tear-off, and re-framing above the existing foundation. A taller roof over the garage portion allows for additional storage. The adjacent space (formerly a carport) could be used for a home office, workshop or craft area. The interior is finished with durable and economical materials that work for many different uses. Careful placement of windows and skylights allow for ample natural light while maintaining flexibility in how the space can be laid out. The design goals for this project are to create two highly efficient spaces from an existing structure while also working within a modest budget."

5. Copper House

Architect: Charles Rose Architects, Location: Belmont, Massachusetts

From the architect: "Charles Rose Architects rarely work on renovations. In this case, the original house was a Colonial box with vinyl siding; it was poorly sited, and a garage cut it off from a spacious yard. Yet it had charm: cozy rooms, a downstairs bedroom suite, and ample usable space. The project called for, in essence, adding a house to the existing house, and the complexity and challenge proved too hard to resist."
Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Running a small business isn’t easy at the best of times. Payroll comes every two weeks. Rent and utility bills come every month. Tax submissions come every quarter. Today’s pandemic exacerbates the challenges that small businesses face: reserves are often minimal, allowing for, if they’re lucky, a month or two of emergency financial resources.

Due to the nature of tight budgets, small businesses rely on their clients to pay their bills regularly and keep revenue flowing. Sometimes this is within 30 days, but more often within 60, though some are 90 or longer. As long as its predictable, things flow smoothly. But when bills are submitted by mail, processed by in-house staff and cheques mailed out, this process can grind to a halt if everyone is working from home. Thankfully, many bigger organizations use direct deposit and accept invoices by email. Making sure bills are paid in a timely fashion helps everyone; it means payroll gets covered, rents get paid.

When staff have to work remotely, it means buying the necessary hardware to work remotely. It means setting up processes and systems to maintain file security and supporting staff with work from home options; that can mean subsidizing their home internet use, paying for their personal cell phone or giving them an office work chair so that their ergonomics at work (from home) are the same as when they are at work (at work).

All these things cost money. A decent computer is over $3,000 alone, not to mention the set-up time, software and so on. Access to the office resources (building codes, reference material) is limited to what can be made available on-line. Many resources can’t be digitized and some projects have security protocols and can’t be worked on outside the office.

Then there is the social aspect. We work collaboratively on projects. That means getting up from your desk to talk to the other people on the project or getting an outside opinion on how to do something from someone down the hall. It might mean printing the drawing you’re working on and grabbing a coffee with someone to talk through the design problem. All this is possible, when working from home, but not only is it different, its not what we’re used to. It takes time, and technology, to make this happen.

Why do small businesses matter? Over 90% of architecture practices in the province employ fewer than 10 architects (are likely firms of less than 75 people). Over 75% of Ontario architecture practices are very small businesses, with 2 architects or less, likely representing less than 20 employees. Yet, Ontario architects have an economic impact that represents 14% of the province’s GDP.

There are real steps cities and provincial governments can take, right now, that would make a difference. Immediate steps include:
  • Suspending commercial property taxes for the next 6 months. That could be tens of thousands of dollars.
  • Provide grant funding for hardware and software to keep employees working. Make this grant funding come directly out of quarterly HST submissions so that the revenue is recouped quickly instead of waiting until next year’s tax submission.
In the short- and medium-term, we need to look at how to stimulate the economy. Investing in buildings creates places for people, and we need better places more than ever before. We still have a housing crisis and can’t forget that sustainable investment in the built environment pays dividends. City and provincial governments can take immediate steps, today:
  • Funding design competitions for deep energy retrofits, renovations and restorations to address the backlog of billions of dollars in infrastructure; holding ideas competitions creates opportunities for small- and medium-sized firms to showcase their talents and spur a public conversation on community investment, and set the stage for longer-range capital planning.
  • Create more small projects; ten $20 million modest housing projects can create opportunities for ten competent smaller firms whereas one $200 million project creates 1 job opportunity (and very few firms can compete for it).
  • Expropriate vacant and derelict buildings where we desperately need good infill development; cities can hold onto this land, supporting design competitions and planning approvals to create sustainable infill and build them as city owned projects, or sell them with planning approvals and designs in p
Molteni & C
The coronavirus pandemic will eventually lead to higher quality, more sustainable products, according to Italian design brands that were forced to temporarily close their factories this week.

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte closed all factories that manufacture non-essential items on Saturday 21 March, meaning production lines for internationally renowned design brands fell silent. "We will slow down the country's productive engine, but we will not stop it," said Conte.

Molteni&C is one of several firms that spoke to Dezeen earlier this week, before speculation mounted that Milan's Salone del Mobile might be cancelled. The fair is due to confirm today whether or not it will go ahead.

Travel restrictions, lockdown and the cancellation of real-world events will push brands to explore new ways of using technology to connect with clients, Poltrona Frau CEO Nicola Coropulis told Dezeen.

"Digital and physical worlds will be even more connected," said Coropulis. "Though the physical experience remains paramount in our industry, digitalisation will bring to close relationships between brands and consumers."

"Post-crisis consumers" will value different things

The crisis of Covid-19 will be a "turning point" for everyone, Coropulis predicted. "Italian companies will discover the benefit of acting together in a more systemic way to defend the undisputed excellence they stand for," he said. Furniture brand Poltrona Frau, which was founded in 1912, is headquartered in Tolentino in central Italy.

Giuliano Mosconi, president and CEO of Zanotta, believes "post-crisis consumers" will have different values.

"We believe that once fear is over, if the financial resources for families and businesses are sufficiently guaranteed, we will see a recovery in the economy, perhaps characterised by more aware and optimistic consumer behaviour," Mosconi said.

Zanotta has been making upholstery and furniture since 1954 and is based in Lombardy, one of the areas worst affected by coronavirus. Mosconi said the lockdown would have a significant impact on sales. "Now production is suspended, we will most likely see a sales reduction of more than 30 per cent compared to previous periods," he said.

Covid-19 "causing us to re-evaluate what truly matters"

Italian brands have rallied, vowing to come back stronger than before. "Challenging situations spark human innovation," said Molteni&C head of marketing and communication Giulia Molteni.

Founded in 1934, Molteni&C is a family-run business based in Milan that specialises in luxury furniture. "Despite all the challenges that this pandemic brings, it is also causing us to re-evaluate what truly matters," Molteni told Dezeen.

Factories hope to re-open in a few weeks

The state of emergency and factory closures will be a challenge for its iconic brands, but all the companies Dezeen spoke to had optimistic messages to share. "Our factories are smart and flexible, and they are able to re-start quite fast, hopefully in a couple of weeks," said Molteni.

"We all are called to face new individual and common responsibilities, which lead our communities to embrace new, stronger and more convinced purposes," she added. "We truly are determined to continue cultivating the beauty and quality of Made in Italy, as we’ve been doing for over 80 years now."

Some of the brand's comments chime with predictions made by trends forecaster Li Edelkoort. Edelkoort told Dezeen that coronavirus has put the world into a "quarantine of consumption" that will help people re-learn to value simple and durable possessions in favour of endlessly buying new and disposable objects.

While coronavirus cases continue to rise in Europe and America, factories in China are beginning to open again after they were shut down for weeks during the country's effort to stop the spread of the virus.
Jeff Wilson
Jupe Health has developed a line of rapidly deployable, pop-up recovery units to address the coronavirus pandemic.

To help in the fight against COVID-19, humanitarian startup Jupe Health has developed a new type of affordable, shippable hospital room that can be quickly dispatched to crisis zones. A standard flatbed truck can carry up to 24 of the compact shelters, and a cargo ship can pack 500,000 per trip.

The pop-up recovery units cost about 1/30th of what it takes to operate a single room in a standard hospital—Jupe’s chief medical advisor Dr. Esther Choo pins that number at $1 million. "The health system has many overlapping needs right now, and cannot function well without all the pieces in place," says Dr. Choo. "We’re working to plug one of the more complex gaps."

The startup offers three configurations. The smallest is the Jupe Rest, which is designed to offer shelter for hospital workers. Each off-grid-capable unit can be outfitted with a queen or two twin beds, Wi-Fi, climate control, and an optional integrated filtration system. The units start at $14,500.

The Jupe Care is a wellness unit designed for isolating non-critical COVID-19 patients. It does everything the Jupe Rest does, but it adds bathroom fixtures and hospital features like a donning and doffing chamber and ventilator hookups. The soft-top option starts at $52,000.

The third and most robust configuration is the Jupe Plus—an intensive care unit that’s still under development. This offering will start at $99,000.

The shelters with bathroom fixtures won’t require hookups, as they use standard RV equipment for waste disposal. All of the units can be outfitted with solar photovoltaic panels, and they can be plugged into the grid on cloudy days.

While Jupe continues to work on prototyping in Texas, El Paso–based auto manufacturers are at the ready to produce orders for public and private buyers. If interest grows in further reaches of the nation or globe, the designs can be shared with regional manufacturers to speed up production near affected areas.

"Having worked for decades in crisis situations, it is vital to put your health facilities where the epidemic is spreading," says Cameron Sinclair, Jupe’s chief humanitarian advisor. "Having highly deployable recovery units gives us the best chance of fighting COVID-19 and to support our frontline medical professionals."
Interior Design Media
As the design community continues to seek out innovative ways to connect and remain energized from home offices around the globe, SANDOW is adding a welcome solution to the mix—DesignTV by SANDOW. DesignTV by SANDOW, which debuts on Facebook Live Monday, March 30, will feature exclusive content from Interior Design and other SANDOW brands including Luxe Interiors + Design, Metropolis, Galerie, and ThinkLab.

“Architects, designers, and brand leaders are looking for connection and information during this difficult time and our focus, as always, is supporting the design industry,” says Adam Sandow, CEO and Founder of SANDOW. “We are introducing DesignTV by SANDOW to bring our global design community together. Our editors are fortunate to have access to the greatest innovators and thinkers in design and we are connecting them to our audiences to keep them informed as we navigate through these unprecedented times.”

Interior Design Editor in Chief Cindy Allen along with Andy Cohen and Diane Hoskins, Co-CEOs of Gensler, will kick off the inaugural week of programming—spotlighting ways the design industry is pushing forward while working remotely—with an intimate conversation: “State of the Industry,” followed by a "Creative Minds" talk between Allen and architect Rick Joy. Day one also will include a conversation led by Luxe Interiors + Design Editor in Chief Pam Jaccarino addressing innovations in the work-from-home environment with designers Peter Dunham, Denise McGaha, and Nicole Fuller, and a program hosted by Galerie Editor-in-Chief Jacqueline Terrebonne.

Each day, DesignTV by SANDOW will feature up to two hours of video programming, including live broadcasts with designers and industry leaders, as well as product presentations, virtual design tours, and candid interviews hosted by the editors of Interior Design, Luxe Interiors + Design, Metropolis, and Galerie.

DesignTV by SANDOW also will include ThinkLab’s “WFH Digital Seminar” based on up-to-the-minute research, as well as the premiere of Interior Design’s new video series “Creative Voices,” and Metropolis’ “The New Normal for Workspaces,” hosted by Editor in Chief Avinash Rajagopal, which will focus on wellness, sustainability, and—as its title suggests—alternative work styles.

See below for a full programming schedule (dates, times, and programming subject to change) and follow Interior Design, Luxe Interiors + Design, Metropolis, Galerie, and ThinkLab on Facebook to stay updated on DesignTV by SANDOW. Programming also will be syndicated across the Facebook pages and respective websites of participating SANDOW brands.

Monday, 3/30

1-1:35 pm ET: Interior Design’s State of the Industry, hosted by Cindy Allen

1:35-2 pm ET: Interior Design’s Creative Voices with Rick Joy, hosted by Cindy Allen

2-2:30 pm ET: Luxe Interiors and Design’s My WFH Space, hosted by Pam Jaccarino

2:30-3 pm ET: Galerie’s Virtual Design Tour with Steve Giannetti, hosted by Jacqueline Terrebonne

Tuesday, 3/31

1-1:30 pm ET: Luxe Interiors and Design’s Virtual Design Tour, hosted by Lisa Bingham Dewart

1:30-2 pm ET: Metropolis’ The New Normal for Workspaces, hosted by Avinash Rajagopal

2-3 pm ET: ThinkLab’s WFH Digital Seminar

Wednesday, 4/1

1-1:30 pm ET: Interior Design’s 1on1 with Yves Behar, hosted by Cindy Allen

1:30-2 pm ET: Interior Design Town Hall, hosted by Cindy Allen

2-2:30 pm ET: An interview with Shaw Contract’s John Stephens, hosted by Cindy Allen

2:30-3 pm ET: DesignTV by SANDOW programming

Thursday, 4/2

1-1:30 pm ET: Galerie’s Creative Minds with Fanny Singer, hosted by Jacqueline Terrebonne

1:30-2 pm ET: Metropolis’ Doubling Down on Wellness, hosted by Avinash Rajagopal

2-2:30 pm ET: Interior Design’s Creative Voices, hosted by Cindy Allen

2:30-3 pm ET: DesignTV by SANDOW programming
Benjamin Benschneider
As COVID-19 spreads and many businesses temporarily shutter, members of a Facebook group called “Mothers in Architecture” have started to discuss an unexpected problem they are facing: some firms have not given staff the option to work remotely, even as schools close and children are confined to the home. Economic instability accompanying the pandemic makes for hard decisions as concerned architects worry that pushing too hard to telecommute may get them fired. Elsa Guzman-Contrera, one of the Facebook group’s co-founders, noticed comments about work-related virus issues starting on March 16. "A lot of job insecurity concerns surfaced around this topic,” says Guzman-Contrera.

One early post began: "Is anyone else not feeling supported during this time?" The writer explained that her 150-person office in Atlanta discouraged telecommuting, but she had no choice because her children's schools closed. “I'm taking a calculated risk of losing my job by working remotely,” she wrote. “I can already sense my boss’ annoyance." (Like everyone else in this story, she did not want to be named for fear of retribution.)

In states with shelter-in-place orders, some architects still find their firms stretching exemptions regarding essential services. One architect employed by a 70-person AE firm in New York City is continuing fieldwork while the rest of the office is closed. "My project manager has not been forthcoming about whether or not I will have work if I stop doing inspection. I feel stuck because I'm afraid I'll be laid off if I push the issue.” It doesn't help that she is the only mom on the team and feels that the complications of closed schools are overlooked. In addition, of course, she is re-exposing herself and her family to the virus every day that she continues working.

Another architect, at a 150-person AE firm in upstate New York, asked for advice from the Facebook group, regarding a manager who requested she help him field measure a public library, even after the city had closed it—and other public institutions—to deter the spread of the virus. Her concern about social distancing extends to her manager, who continues to go into the office every day. She is torn because she knows that if the firm loses work, she faces a layoff.

Some pregnant women (a high-risk group for the virus) feel forced to start limited maternity leave sooner than planned, placing their households under financial stress. One architect at a mid-sized firm in Houston who works on commercial projects posted, “We are not allowed to work from home, so I will be taking unpaid maternity leave one month early due to this coronavirus.” She concluded her comment by asking for leads for remote work.

Playing devil's advocate, one architect posted that the main concern from leadership is the loss of productivity. “We're a small firm, and if people are working from home with little kids and no childcare, it's not possible to get a solid 8-hour workday in.”

Christina Congdon, who is operations manager for Environmental Works in Seattle—a major hotspot of the outbreak—helped to make decisions regarding shutting down the office. She says there is technology that makes telecommuting a non-issue and feels saddened that many offices are not: “The profession needs to get with the program, not only during a pandemic.” Mothers in architecture have made difficult choices between work and family for decades, but with COVID-19, they’re now facing decisions that may have far more serious consequences.
Michael Sorkin Studio
Michael Sorkin, architect, author, teacher, and one of the most distinctive voices for social justice and sustainability in the design of the urban environment, has died at the age of 71 in New York after contracting coronavirus. A distinguished professor and director of the urban design program at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York City, Sorkin was a longtime contributing editor and friend of Architectural Record, as well as architecture critic for The Nation. He was known for the biting essays he wrote for the Village Voice in the high days of Post Modernism. In addition, he wrote or edited 20 books.

His office, Michael Sorkin Studio, had a number of urban design and architecture projects in China. Closer to home, he was a recent finalist in a design competition for affordable housing on infill lots in New York, with the multi-unit “House as Garden” for a site in Harlem. His firm's non-profit arm, Terreform, was a research studio for exploring sustainability.

Sorkin was a world-class provocateur, his criticism always served up with keen intelligence, love of language and sharp wit. Two months before the 2016 presidential election, Sorkin wrote presciently in an opinion piece for RECORD, “Civilizations are marked by their priorities, and ours are too given over to prisons, malls, and McMansions and too little to good housing for all, complete and sustainable communities, green energy, rational mobility, structures of succor. Politics programs our architecture. The emblem of Trump’s agenda is a piece of architecture—that absurd pharaonic wall he bruits for the Mexican border. His whole project trumpets control, and his mantra is shared by many an architect: just leave it to me!”

Advocating that that control must be shared with communities, Sorkin wrote in the magazine that planning in New York City had become “too skewed toward money and away from people,” saying that “the capacity of neighborhoods to meaningfully participate in planning their own destinies—and that of the larger realms we all share—is fundamental. Wisdom doesn't belong to any particular group.”

And while he could publicly call out a colleague like Zaha Hadid over a controversial statement, Sorkin was affectionate after she died, recalling a long-ago trip in Brazil, where he and his wife trekked with her from an ill-fated conference in São Paulo to a transgender beach in Rio to a pilgrimage to Oscar Niemeyer. “Zaha was a brilliant traveling companion: she would not be denied. Restaurants that had closed re-opened to cook for us. Prices fell for everything from knick-knacks to precious stones under the irresistible force of her bargaining,” he wrote. “We all ate well, got the first cab, received excellent service everywhere, and were warmed by her generous radiance.”

Despite his short-changed ideals and pointed words, Sorkin retained a slyly humorous outlook on life. Students, colleagues, and others fortunate to know him were well acquainted with his own generous radiance.
Nigel Young/Foster + Partners
A rippling timber roof cantilevers from the Dolunay Villa in Muğla, Turkey, designed by Foster + Partners to complement its rugged coastal setting.

Positioned on the coast of the Aegean Sea, it is the first private family house designed by Foster + Partners since completing Leedon Park House in Singapore in 2006.

Dolunay Villa's giant undulating timber roof is designed to appear like an extension of its rocky, beachside setting.

Its terraces are sheltered by the home's overhanging roof, which has a 7.5-metre-wide cantilever. It relies on solid structural oak beams that rest on steel columns and was designed in collaboration with Blumer Lehmann.

"We were fascinated by the local landscape and wanted it to flow through the interior spaces and effectively disguise the building," said Foster + Partners' head of studio David Summerfield.

"Even though it gets incredibly hot in the summer, we wanted the building to be able to breathe naturally," he added.

"The landscaped open courtyards within the house allow the prevailing sea breeze to gently move through the villa. These are simple ideas that have come together in an elegant way."

Huge areas of glazing on the south side of the home open out to the sea and invite in the coastal breeze.

Dolunay Villa comprises two storeys divided into private and shared spaces, surrounded by landscaped gardens. These gardens feature fragrant plants such as thyme and lavender, chosen to create a "multi-sensory experience".

The home is accessed from a meandering approach on its north side, where it is disguised as a closed-off, low-rise dwelling.

Its full scale is revealed by following the gradient of the sloped site to the south side, where it switches into a two-storey structure, partially embedded it into the landscape.

The unexpected transition between the one and two-storey sides to the villa is reflected externally in the buildings material finishes.

Its windowless north side is lined with stone and timber slats, while the south sea-facing side is enveloped by large areas of glazing.

"There's a real split between the public forum and private," explained the architecture firm's partner Niall Dempsey.

"A sense of discovery and a richness of experience comes through in the way the spaces change as you walk through the site."

Inside, the main entrance guides visitors directly to the centre of the villa, which is flanked by the private quarters on its east side, and the public areas to the west.

Here there is a feature spiral staircase that is made from solid Portuguese limestone, and provides access to the lower ground floor.

Along Dolunay Villa's south-facing facade, the glazing slides open to provides access onto shaded terraces.
John Gollings
In modern cities, our public spaces represent our shared values. They are our common assets, owned, maintained and used by all members of our society. The outbreak of coronavirus and its immediate impacts, such as social distancing, have raised many questions about the role of public space in such times.

Since the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 pandemic, countries had been forced to adopt social isolation measures very quickly. Australia has progressively increased enforceable social distancing measures. India’s nearly 1.4 billion people have been ordered not to leave their homes. In Europe, first Italy, then Spain, France, Belgium and the UK have entered periods of total lockdown. It’s happening closer to home in New Zealand.

While the economic impacts of the pandemic are becoming obvious, the influence upon public space still remains uncertain.

With businesses being forced to close and whole sectors urged to work from home, streetlife is grinding to a halt across the world. As fear of infection has increased, public transport use has plummeted.

Australia is among the increasing numbers of countries to close “non-essential” public space, including restaurants, cafes and cinemas. Around the world, major sporting events, music concerts and comedy festivals have all been cancelled. Any non-essential travel and meetings are being discouraged or banned.

These measures are significant: they could uproot the very foundations of how people interact in public.

While this intense monitoring of public space is a temporary control, it raises questions about the future. Will we return to our normal habits once it’s all over? Will coughing on the subway be forever taboo?

Collectivism or individualism?

The coronavirus pandemic has had immediate impacts – both negative and positive – on how people interact with each other in public. Xenophobia and racial stereotyping have led to antisocial public behaviour. And supermarkets have become stages for public fights over toilet paper and hand sanitiser.

In spite of this, we have also seen instances of collectivism and urban resilience. In Italy, the national lockdown has forced people to create a new type of public space. Citizens are taking to their balconies and windows to enjoy music together, sharing songs across buildings and above streets.

It’s a reminder that connection and interaction are integral to our society even in times of crisis. But is this particular type of collectivism a product of urban density? These scenes may not be so easily replicated in Australia’s sprawling suburbs. However, we are seeing other displays of community.

What will fill the void?

The practice of self-isolation raises many uncertainties about public space. Daily human contact is ingrained in the ways people interact in public spaces. Will social isolation lead to a more individualistic approach to public spaces?

In 2020, perhaps this type of physical isolation will not feel so foreign as it might once have. Email, social media and the sharing economy already provide the necessary digital infrastructure.

The role of technology will be heightened as digital space becomes even more prominent as a platform for sharing information and enabling human interaction. Events like these also highlight the shortfalls of our digital infrastructure, in particular the need to improve our national broadband network (NBN).

Coronavirus will change the ways we work and study. But it won’t remove our desire for human connection.

Our trust in public spaces will need to be rebuilt if we are to rebuild our economy and our society. In the face of generational issues such as climate change and homelessness, there is hope coronavirus might actually offer us an opportunity to radically reassess our communal values.
Architect Magazine
Blaine Brownell reviews recent findings on COVID-19 transmission from surface contact, and reviews potential interventions for designers.

In a surprisingly short time, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it. Many architects and designers now work remotely while sheltering in place, doing our part to “flatten the curve” and reduce pressures on health care services. Meanwhile, researchers are studying COVID-19 at a breakneck pace, with some scientists demonstrating the virus transfers not only between two people, but also between exposed surfaces and individuals. This finding has created a general surface phobia, characterized by a fear of door handles, handrails, and other high-contact objects.

Not all materials offer a lasting home for viruses, however, and architects can put this knowledge to use—particularly when designing spaces for more vulnerable occupants.

In a study published earlier this month in The New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Institutes of Health virologist Neeltje van Doremalen and her co-authors found that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for the COVID-19 illness) survives for two to three days on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel—a concerning fact for health care workers in facilities that largely feature these materials. The researchers assessed the decay rates of viruses aerosol sprayed onto these surfaces, as well as onto copper and cardboard. They reported that the virus can remain active on cardboard for up to 24 hours, while it dies the quickest on copper, lasting around four hours.

In fact, researchers have promoted the use of copper to slow the spread of other acute respiratory diseases, like SARS and MERS in recent years. Copper and its alloys such as bronze or brass are inherently antimicrobial, disrupting key cell functions once the metals are exposed to bacteria or viruses. Studies have shown that E. coli survive less than 90 minutes on a copper surface at room temperature. In contrast, the bacteria exhibit no signs of reduced viability after 270 minutes on stainless steel. The same New England Journal of Medicine study indicates a similar response, although for a longer duration, in the novel coronavirus. Not only is SARS-CoV-2 rendered inactive within four hours on copper, but SARS-CoV-1—the “most closely related human coronavirus”—also becomes inviable within eight hours.

Cardboard’s relative inhospitality to viruses is also intriguing. “We speculate due to the porous material, [the virus] desiccates rapidly and might be stuck to the fibers,” said Rocky Mountain Laboratories virologist Vincent Munster, a co-author on the NIH study, in a BBC interview. “[We’re] currently running follow-up experiments to investigate the effect of temperature and humidity in more detail.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention corroborates this finding, reporting that “there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” Although cardboard is not a typical material used in architecture (unless you are Shigeru Ban, Hon. FAIA), other similarly porous and fibrous materials may exhibit similar performance with regard to virus survivability. However, more research is required to determine specific viral death rates on different materials.

Although not included in the NIH study, antimicrobial coatings are commonly used to eliminate viruses on material surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and wall surfaces. A swiftly growing industry —now valued in the billion-dollar range—has quietly and rapidly formed around such coatings. While some paint manufacturers have added microbe-killing agents to paint and primer coatings, other manufacturers have created coatings leveraging other chemical capabilities. For example, organosilanes are silicon-based nanocoatings that form a highly-abrasive surface for viruses and bacteria, effectively ripping them apart. Meanwhile, the chemical compound quaternary ammonium, typically used in disinfectants, causes cell leakage and eventual death of microbes. Other strategies include photocatalytic and superhydrophobic coatings, which both exhibit self-cleaning functionality.

While these substances hold potential, concerns remain over an increased prevalence of chemicals in the built environment. For example, when the CDC found “no evidence to suggest the products offer any enhanced protection from the spread of bacteria and germs, and that proper cleaning and hand washing are the best ways t
Carlo Ratti Associati
Hospitals overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic could find a much-needed capacity lifeline in retrofitted shipping containers. An international task force, comprised of designers, engineers, medical professionals and military experts, has unveiled designs to convert shipping containers into plug-in Intensive-Care Pods as part of an open-source design dubbed CURA (Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments). The first CURA biocontainment pod prototype is currently being built in Milan, Italy.

Designed by Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) in collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of professionals, CURA was developed with an open-source, non-profit framework with the support of the World Economic Forum. For quick deployment, the plug-in units will be repurposed from 20-foot-long shipping containers that can be easily transported anywhere around the world using existing transportation infrastructure. According to the designers, CURA “could be as fast to mount as a hospital tent, but as safe as an isolation ward, thanks to biocontainment with negative pressure” created from an extractor that complies with the standards of Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs).

Cargotecture also offers the benefit of modularity. Individual pods work autonomously but can also be joined together with inflatable structures to create multiple configurations ranging from four beds to over 40 beds. The flexible design allows pods to be installed in close proximity to the hospitals in areas such as parking lots or as standalone, makeshift emergency hospitals in open fields and town squares.

As a ready-to-use solution, each CURA pod is equipped with all the medical equipment needed for two COVID-19 intensive-care patients — including ventilators and intravenous fluid strands — before deployment. The first CURA prototype is currently being built for testing at a Milan hospital. The open-source project is sponsored by European Bank UniCredit and invites suggestions and improvements on CURApods.org.

The mass work-from-home experiment imposed on us by coronavirus could finally force companies to embrace remote working, says Tom Ravenscroft.

Like many companies around the world, Dezeen has closed its offices and all of our staff are now working from home. We made the decision at the end of the week before last, as the coronavirus outbreak in the UK worsened. In the absence of government guidance, we decided we were not comfortable asking people to come into the office.

At a company meeting to explain the move to the team, there was unanimous agreement that sending everyone home was the right choice. Twelve days later, social distancing is now part of our collective vocabulary and working from home has become the new normal.

The Dezeen staff are part of the world's largest-ever work-from-home experiment. The coronavirus outbreak is the most dramatic disruption to office working culture in our lifetimes. Companies across the world are being forced to embrace remote working and the digital technology that supports it.

The dawn of the internet threatened to revolutionise the traditional office, as near-instant communication promised to free large numbers of people to work from wherever they wanted – by now I definitely should be editing Dezeen from a beachside location. By 2020, slogging to a physical office and back was meant to be a thing of the past; instead, everyone would be "telecottaging", as we quaintly called it in the noughties.

The coronavirus outbreaks have now forced many companies to stress-test working from home at its most extreme

But despite leaps in technology, the office has stubbornly refused to retire. Twenty years after the internet became ubiquitous, while many companies (including Dezeen) have introduced degrees of flexibility, few office workers telecommute on a daily basis. Disrupting long-held working patterns has been limited by both technology and corporate inertia. There has been a fear of the disruption that working from home might cause, effectively slowing its adoption.

The coronavirus outbreaks have now forced many companies to stress-test working from home at its most extreme. Where some businesses were resistant to a single team member telecommuting for a single day, they are now coming to terms with having the entire team working from home indefinitely.

And as many of us are learning, working full-time from home is possible. Of course, at least in these early weeks, it is far from ideal. At Dezeen, a largely online company that is seemingly perfect for a digital transition, the move has been expectably strained.

We have lost the immediacy of face-to-face communications. Conversations that should take seconds have been stretched out over minutes on Slack, ideas and instructions are being lost in translation within emails and we are all talking over each other in Google Hangouts. My own productivity is definitely suffering. The relative, calm of the office has disappeared. Concentrating amid constant cat and baby distractions is tough. Like many, I am now rotating between working in bed, at the kitchen table or in my garden shed-cum-office, which doesn't have WiFi. While all good options, none is ideal.

We are finding ways to make working remotely work

However, as a team, we are learning. And next week will be easier, as we begin to develop personal and company-wide systems to understand how to work most efficiently in this unprecedented environment. We are finding ways to make working remotely work.

Certainly, there will be hiccups and barriers to smooth remote working and technology is not quite up to the task. Internet speeds and variability make downloading large files troublesome, remote server access is a pain, and teleconferences often have a frozen person. There is the constant worry that, with everyone else working from home too, internet services will become overloaded.

But the experiment will force innovation, driving investment and improvement. It will force teams to better understand distance working and try things that were previously thought to be impossible. Joining a meeting remotely used to be a novelty; this week our 15-person editorial meeting happened in a Google Hangout without any major issues. Next week's full-team meeting will be even more efficient.

Once the world returns to normality, remote working will no
Adobe Stock / William W. Potter
The smart home tech provider shares the impact of a global pandemic on supply and demand.

Before COVID-19 came to the U.S., its effects were felt in the global supply chain, particularly for products coming out of China in the early months of 2020. A number of the suppliers builders partner with have found themselves short on product, and now face the evolving U.S. situation just as Chinese manufacturing has started to recover.

We spoke to Aaron Emigh, CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based smart home tech provider Brilliant, about the events of the past two months, from the first disruptions to the current situation in the United States. The manufacturer’s smart home controllers, dimmers, and accessory products are all made in China, and many of their components are also sourced in China.

BUILDER: When did you start noticing supply chain disruptions, and how did that manifest?

Emigh: With global supply chains today, if you get a regional disruption, [it will] affect the entire world, and products across the board. And that’s what we saw. It was really over Chinese New Year [mid-to-late January] that it intensified.

Things had already happened in Wuhan, and the COVID-19 virus had already emerged. But during the Chinese New Year, all the businesses shut down and everyone [in China] goes home. It was during that time when the initial extent of the problem became clear, and they instituted lockdowns when everyone was away from their work to start with. So there were a lot of people who were in Wuhan and couldn’t get out – there are still a lot of people who are in Wuhan and can’t get out.

So what happened was, the Chinese New Year was extended for another month-plus. A lot of companies were in a position where, you build up a little extra inventory to be able to compensate for the week of Chinese New Year… but when businesses weren’t allowed to reopen, that caused enormous disruptions that are still there to this day.

Businesses have generally reopened, although not all of them. And some small businesses were driven out of business because they’re operating without a lot of capital or ability to pay salaries when they’re not producing. There was also some pent-up demand. For example, the company that we work with that manufactures circuit boards is operating at several hundred percent of its normal rate just trying to catch up from all the work that was delayed. So they’re slower to deliver things than they usually are.

BUILDER: How did you handle these delays as they occurred, as well as pent-up demand?

Emigh: It was a matter of staying in close communication with everybody, and understanding what the impact on the supply chain would be. We made sure that we could fulfill all of the contractual commitments that we had, the relationships with the builders and the operators of multifamily housing, where they have a schedule and they need products on that schedule. So we need to be able to maintain that availability there. What that meant was cutting back on sales to consumers, so we stopped selling units online until we could get more of them.

Obviously, as a business, you want to sell all the units that you can. But we have long-term commitments with some people, and we needed to make sure we are meeting the commitments to our builders, to our multifamily operators. Whereas for consumers, we haven’t promised to sell them one yet. So we decided, let’s not make that promise just now. And that way we’re not disappointing them.

BUILDER: When COVID-19 started entering the U.S., did you take any measures to prepare for that? And how are you handling the current situation?

Emigh: I think we’re in there with all the other businesses, just trying to understand what it means as far as what we’re doing right now. The main thing is to try to support peoples’ ability to do social distancing. We’re doing a lot of meetings virtually, a lot of people are choosing to work from home. And we very much offered and encouraged that. And that is probably quickly transitioning to everybody. It’s a fluid situation, and we’re not epidemiologists so we’re just trying to understand it best we can, what the right thing to do is from a public health perspective, from an employee needs perspective.

A lot of schools are closed, and then people have children that are home and they need to adjust their work schedules to accommodate that they have childcare respon
As laboratory designers, we want to shed light on a subset of our population critical to protecting us from, and preventing the spread of, severe outbreaks: public health researchers.

Written gratitude does not feel like enough at this moment, but we want to start this piece just by saying THANK YOU to the research teams around the world. You are true heroes in a time when we need you most.

Many of the researchers who work in disease testing, prevention and treatment within the U.S. work at institutions like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and state-, county- and city-run public health laboratories. The U.S. is fortunate to have some of the best biocontainment laboratories in the world.

For those unfamiliar, biocontainment laboratories are where various pathogenic organisms and agents (i.e., viruses, bacteria or toxins that produce a disease) are held and studied in a highly controlled and isolated environment. A “biosafety level” (BSL) is the level of the biocontainment precautions required to isolate dangerous biological agents in an enclosed laboratory facility. The levels of containment range from the lowest biosafety level 1 (BSL-1) to the highest level 4 (BSL-4). In the U.S., the CDC specifies these levels. BSL-1 and -2 laboratories often house research with low-to-moderate risk, while BSL-3 and -4 laboratories handle pathogens with serious or lethal risk.

To keep researchers safe and performing at their best in the midst of pandemics like COVID-19, these laboratories focus on optimizing three key elements: primary containment, such as personal protective equipment and equipment housing infectious materials; secondary containment, such as the overall quality of the laboratory facility; and a relentless adherence to safe microbiological procedures that align with the design of the laboratory.

Thankfully, specialized biocontainment facilities are designed to support very intricate processes and to reduce the potential for errors and accidents that could jeopardize progress. The following are a few elements you will find in many biocontainment laboratories that allow public health researchers to work effectively, efficiently and safely in times of crisis.

During a crisis, outbreak, or natural disaster, public health laboratories are critically important to our communities and must remain operational. To ensure that facilities can sustain operations in such an event, risk assessments of the primary building systems and structures are routinely conducted. A good risk assessment includes an evaluation of these systems beyond the first potential mode of failure.

For example, a back-up generator is extremely valuable when there is a loss of power distribution. What if, however, the generator fails or runs out of fuel? The secondary evaluation would include consideration of multiple generators, prioritization of laboratory facility electrical loads and a reliable source of fuel. For one state’s public health laboratory design, we enlisted the support of that state’s National Guard to deliver diesel fuel to the laboratory as a back-up if normal fuel delivery were suspended.

Primary containment consists of biosafety cabinets, centrifuges (a machine with a rapidly rotating container that applies centrifugal force to its contents, typically to separate fluids of different densities), and in some cases, personal protective equipment. These elements act as the first line of defense between the infectious materials researchers work with and their own personal safety. It is essential for every laboratory to have an adequate quantity and quality of primary containment equipment to handle routine procedures and to accommodate operation at surge capacity in the event of an outbreak.

The laboratory itself and associated utility systems provide the secondary containment, which contributes significantly to laboratory workers’ protection and safety. A few secondary containment design strategies follow:

One way to foster safety and reduce human error in laboratories is to automate processes. Robotics support material washing, high-throughput screening, sample storage and solvent distribution. Another process that has highly effective automated solutions is decontamination. Portable and built-in vaporization systems decontaminate containment suites, thereby supplementing more labor-intensive deconta
Stephen Kent Johnson
Keep these tips in mind if your WFH setup involves roommates, a partner, or kids.

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 forced millions of us to stay at home, working remotely had been on the rise. But that’s not to say that the adjustment comes easily; telecommuting can take both a physical and mental toll—especially when you’re suddenly working in tight quarters with partners, roommates, children, or other family members. Whether you’re used to working from home or new to the routine, we have some crucial tips to keep you focused and help you navigate with your impromptu co-working setup.

Have your own work-from-home tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!

Invest in a Good Pair of Headphones

Working from home generally means working from a home computer, which entails video conferences, phone calls, and even virtual happy hours. Treat yourself—and those around you—with a pair of high-quality, noise-cancelling headphones with a built-in microphone that blocks out background noise while ensuring that you come in crystal clear. If you and and your home office mates like to listen to music or podcasts while you work, this will also allow you to jam out without disturbing anyone. You’ll also want to make sure that the headphones are comfortable for long periods of wear, so you may prefer over-ear headphones to earbuds.

Mutually Agree on Dedicated Workspaces

Just because you’re working in a shared, confined space doesn’t mean you should start working from your bed or the couch (the best way to accidentally find yourself taking a mid-afternoon snooze). It’s important to have specific areas (or, if you’re lucky, an entire room) devoted to work to get yourself in the right state of mind. Whether it’s a dining room table, kitchen counter, under-stair nook, or a proper desk in a home office, various workspaces should be discussed as a household so everyone is on board and knows to not distract each other.

Navigate Each Other’s Working Hours

Along with a dedicated workspace, you’ll also want to outline a daily work schedule so that others can respect these quiet hours. Ideally, you’ll be able to line up your hours with your partner or roommate so that everyone is in work mode together, or take lunch breaks or a much-needed walk at the same time, but you’ll need to stay flexible depending on deadlines and the demands of particular jobs. If you live with a partner and kids, a staggered schedule may work better for you so that you’re able to take turns with household chores and childcare. Either way, this will help you not only stick to a specific schedule, but also support everyone else’s work habits.
Daniel Leal Olivas/AFP via Getty Images
As the coronavirus crisis forces changes in transportation, some cities are building bike lanes and protecting cycling shops. Here’s why that makes sense.

Speaking in Parliament in London earlier this year, Chris Boardman, the former Olympian cyclist and the walking and cycling commissioner of Manchester, said: “Pick a crisis, and you’ll probably find cycling is a solution.”

He was talking about climate, health and air pollution, but he also might as well have been talking about coronavirus.

As Covid-19 rages, almost half of the world’s population is under some form of restricted movement. In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, people must stay home, aside from strictly limited essential trips for food and medicine and a daily outing for exercise. We all need to comply with restrictions to bring this life-threatening virus under control. I believe the best way to keep a safe distance from others when we do move is by walking, and cycling.

Many experts view cycling as a safe way to avoid crowded public transportation systems — and the citizens in a number of world cities appear to agree. In New York, cycling spiked by 52% over the city’s bridges after social-distancing protocols were put in place. In Chicago, bikeshare use doubled in early March. In Dublin and London, advocates are offering support to new riders who are taking to the streets in droves.

Cycling can help communities in “food deserts” access shops that are farther than a walk away. It speeds the delivery of food and medicine for households without a car, or those who are quarantined at home. And it helps people avoid car trips, cutting air pollution and freeing up public transit for those who absolutely need it.

To protect people doing essential trips — including medical staff, who need to get to work — networks of emergency cycleways could be built quickly and cheaply, using easy-to-install temporary bollards and wands, as the city of Seville once did. Low-traffic neighborhoods can connect those routes, stopping shortcutting drivers using residential streets with low-tech planters and bollards, while allowing residents in and out by bike. During the crisis, and as society recovers, this network could keep residents active and healthy, where local restrictions permit. It would also be free to use — more valuable than ever amid a global economic disruption. Once we reach the other side, communities could decide whether to keep the new infrastructure or not.

This is hardly the first time that cities have used cycling as an emergency transportation solution. The usefulness of bicycles in disaster recovery was demonstrated anew after severe earthquakes in Mexico City in 2017 and Tokyo in 2011. A broader global crisis — the 1973 OPEC oil embargo — offered another opportunity for bicycles to step up. That shock to the gasoline supply dealt a severe blow to daily life in the U.S. and many car-dependent Western European nations. But in the Netherlands, where the country’s own mid-century car boom had driven up road fatalities and stoked widespread public protests, it helped trigger a transport revolution. The Dutch government enacted a mass program of cycle track construction that continues to this day. Now, nearly 30% of all trips nationwide happen on a bike, and cities are even connected by bicycle “superhighways.”

Even if they are not building new infrastructure, other places are protecting the right to cycle during the pandemic crisis.

As with the oil crisis, city leaders around the world have responded in different ways to keep people moving during the coronavirus emergency. It is heartening to see many governments recognizing and uplifting the value of the bike: Bogotá, Colombia, is installing tens of kilometers of emergency cycleways to keep people moving while enhancing social distancing. The mayor, Claudia López, described cycling as “one of the most hygienic alternatives for the prevention of the virus.” Mexico City is now considering a similar plan. In the U.S., New York City leaders are looking at ways to accommodate new riders, and say they will build two emergency bicycle lanes to plug gaps in the network.

And even if they are not building new infrastructure, other places are protecting the right to cycle. Last week, Germany's Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, recommended that people walk or cycle to work rather than use public transport as states around the country impose lockdowns. Amsterdam residents, already avid cyclists, are being encouraged to ride to stay he
Chris Roque for UAP Polich Tallix
UAP is making an unmissable mark on public space in American cities, fabricating outdoor art and installations from a buzzy foundry upstate.

In 1540, the Italian metallurgist Vannoccio Biringuccio published Concerning Pyrotechnics , an opus that codified techniques of smelting and metalworking, invented in the Middle East thousands of years before Christ, into systems still recognizable to 21st-century artisans. Heirs to Biringuccio’s genius are hard at work one wintry Friday morning at the Polich Tallix (PTX) fine art foundry in Rock Tavern, New York, a short drive from trendy art destination Beacon. The foundry has been newly acquired, if largely left unchanged, by the Australian company UAP, or Urban Art Projects.

And those are just the publishable projects. A great deal more must remain off the record, though evidence of them fills the 80,000-square-foot, hangarlike space. In many cases, UAP’s involvement remains unacknowledged at the client’s request. In a sense, the foundry is as much an alloy as the molten metal it utilizes: Its combination of lost wax- and sand-casting facilities and digital printing capabilities marries ancient and cutting-edge techniques. Its output is both unsigned and unmissable, if you know what to look for. Jeff Koons’s Rabbit, for example, achieved its astonishing reflectivity thanks to PTX craftspeople (though its wild $91 million auction price was largely due to Koons’s star power).

Another charismatic personality launched PTX back in 1969, when an expert metallurgist named Dick Polich quit his job at an aerospace manufacturer after the company received an order for parts for 50,000 gas masks. He shifted gears, opening his own foundry in the hippie environs of upstate New York, joining his name to a derivative of the word metallic with a space-age suffix: Polich Tallix.

These artisans, 80 or so on this January day, are variously casting Ursula von Rydingsvard’s beguiling stacks of cedar beams into glowing bronze, scaling Nicole Eisenman’s wry sculptures into the monumental, repatinating bulbous bronze pieces by Fernando Botero, and carefully readying a massive aluminum sculpture by Joel Shapiro for a voyage.

By 1976, Polich and his team had persuaded Roy Lichtenstein to re-create his still-life paintings in bronze, resulting in the landmark work Lamp on Table. They also embarked on a long collaboration with artist Nancy Graves in which she pushed the limits of the foundry itself, casting fruits, kraft paper, plants, and rope, whose flammable nature required innovative venting. While these Soho-style experiments unfolded, PTX looked uptown, too, fabricating architectural elements for the Metropolitan Museum of Art such as a Roman falcon and an Egyptian cat. “As technologically advanced as we get,” Polich told the New York Times in 1983, “a guy from 300 B.C. could still walk through here and know exactly what was going on. I like that.”

By the mid-1980s, PTX had figured out not just how to engineer, for example, Lichtenstein’s 25-foot-high Brushstrokes but also how to transport and install it at Port Columbus International Airport in Ohio. It had also proved to a very resistant Isamu Noguchi that it could sand-cast in bronze his 1945 Strange Bird (to the Sunflower) without losing the aura of his own direct carvings, and had helped then–commodities broker Jeff Koons cast tchotchkes of any size and move them wherever a buyer desired. PTX, then, was premodern in its reliance on primordial fire and wax, modern in its attention to the delights of the hand, and postmodern in its logistical savvy and willingness to complicate authorship. It was artist and artisan, assistant and supervisor, building a portfolio of skills including engineering, project management, and fluency in the vagaries of packing and shipping. This portfolio became increasingly valuable as the 21st century dawned, when developers and municipalities began looking to large-scale public art as a way to distinguish their mixed-use urban compounds and revitalized downtowns. Seen within this economic and spatial context, the development of PTX has mirrored that of public art in American cities, where a synergy between financial and real estate considerations on the one hand and attention to craft and public engagement on the other has taken root.

A few years ago, brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin were looking to expand the studio and workshop they had founded as Urban Artists in Brisbane, Australia, in 1993. After decades with one location in Shanghai and a small wood studio in Long Isla