Beatriz Colomina argued that European modernism was shaped by tuberculosis. The cure for this disease, fresh air and sunlight therapy, and the diagnostic technique, X-ray, had given the architecture large windows, round corners, transparency and smooth materials.
If COVID, a disease so different from tuberculosis, becomes the driving force, how should the guiding principles of architecture change accordingly? I’ve listed 5 points of COVID architecture: porosity, bubble, distancing, anteroom, and cross-species companionship.
Distancing is a practice that everyone has been very familiar with these 2 years. This point could give us more scattered plans that loosely distribute occupants when translated into architecture. Bubble. The bubbles here are bubbles of activities that happen in an interior space. Like soap bubbles, these activity bubbles can connect and morph into each other. The bubble can give us reconfigurable spaces. Porosity. Each built space of a certain group of occupants is treated as a floating object. It does not share walls or roofs with other spaces. The separation allows ample airflow between and within each space. Anteroom is a transitional space between an unhygienic, dangerous space and a clean and safe space. It is equipped with sanitization devices. Cross-species companionship. Animals are much safer companions than other human beings in the COVID pandemic. Human-centered architecture needs to change to serve these non-human dwellers.
This project intends to create architectural visions of 3 different scales (single-family dwelling unit, building, city blocks) of an imaginary urban space built according to these 5 principles of COVID architecture. I gave the visions vibrant colors and playful yet functional utilities such as Ferris Wheel and hot balloon as vertical transportation, to add a touch of fun and happiness to the depressing pandemic scene.
APT PLAN, Night
Apt Plan, Day
Typical Building Cluster Floor Plan