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The Committee on Design (COD) was founded to promote design excellence among members of the AIA, the broader design community, and the public at large, both nationally and internationally.

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Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the AIA Committee on Design leadership voted to cancel the 2021 Denver conference and postpone the international conference to 2022. Next year's conference dates will be posted once available.

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Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

  • 1.  Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-01-2020 08:38 AM

    There are some who think  that things will go back to normal as soon as there will be a vaccine very soon. Some even consider the pandemic to be a hoax. People with those convictions certainly don't think that architecture or cities will change. They can point to the countries that have managed the pandemic well and returned to a fairly normal life after a few months.
    How long can restaurants take it?

    Then there are those who think that COVID-19 is a great threat, that it won't be over soon, even after a vaccine may have been approved. Those folks believe that the pandemic will have some lasting impact on the way people work, have vacations and shop and that those adaptations  will alter the built environment in radical ways. Some even argue that a return to "normal" wouldn't be desirable, since society was broken to begin with and that COVID just magnified existing issues and should be seen as an opportunity to set the course right.

    Who is correct? As I have described in my earlier article, an end to the pandemic won't be sudden, nor will it be soon.

    With longer lasting extraneous circumstances, people's inertia could go both ways: It could mean a quick return to deeply ingrained pre-COVID habits as soon as circumstances allow it, but it could also mean that people had enough time to get used to "the new normal" and want to stick with it. Already the NYT is reporting a wave of people feeling New York City for the suburbs. Lots of surveys are trying to find out what people really want and come up with a wide range of results, especially when it comes to people's preferences regarding remote work from home.
    The abandoned office in 2020

    Aside from people's preferences, the economic impact alone could be enduring. The financial crisis took some 12 years to overcome and some impacts can still be felt. But memory is short and already we see ....

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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  • 2.  RE: Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-03-2020 11:00 AM

    My honest view and many other architects concur that the idea of a new social distancing is the
    new norm". This is this is simple momentary panic expanded by the hunger to design something socially helpful and new that is not needed. By next year's end, the Covid panic will be well over and as many say, that was sooo 2020, if anything at all.  Social distancing design will be meaningless in the realistic $/SF markets from home to commercial etc.  Even now drawings going to permit wouldn't dream of it.  By the time the permits are issued, construction completed and occupancy in 2-4 years the same SF/person will prevail.

    My 2 cents.  

    Travis  Price,  FAIA

    Travis  Price  Architects

    2805 Chesterfield Place NW

    Washington, DC 20008  

    202 . 965 . 7000


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  • 3.  RE: Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-03-2020 06:14 PM

    Thanks for the reply and assessment.

    The way you put it, I would agree, there won't be lasting "social distancing architecture". As you can see when you read the entire article, my sense is that some things will be enduring, though, in a subtler way than the 6' rule which rather silly to begin with. Trends and fashions are finicky and can blow in new directions by smaller winds than this COVID-19, which is a veritable storm with significant associated damage and trauma.

    Office and retail won't be the same, if not for COVID then for the forces that have been underway for some time. 

    I agree, panic and heavy breathing is not the appropriate modus operandi for architecture. 

    Thanks again for the comment. I hope there will be more, also reports from the daily practice. 

    [Klaus] Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD

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  • 4.  RE: Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-06-2020 07:51 PM
    September 6, 2020

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  • 5.  RE: Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-08-2020 08:58 PM

    Along with the virus's health crisis, the long-neglected most problematic unresolved problem of economic inequality and disparity in the cities appeared on our consciousness. While this problem may not be solved by the architects alone, the awareness and advocacy for equity in the public realm and support for adequate living spaces is something we must seriously address.

    In the "new normal", while reflecting on work, retail, and economic sectors, we need to consider improving conditions in the cities for quality of life for all in the living conditions, mobility, and environment. Any new developments must become sustainable communities where living, working, and other everyday activities are accessible within 15-minute walking, thus reducing need for vehicular mobility.

    You have stressed the quality of air to meet the environmental goals. It is so essential that we favor economies of sensible consumption and pursue UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    Damyanti Radheshwar FIIA AIA LEED AP
    D Radheshwar Architect + Urban Planner and Strategist

    Damyanti Radheshwar AIA
    D Radheshwar Architect
    Shirley NY

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  • 6.  RE: Here Is What COVID-19 Will Do to Architecture and Cities

    Posted 09-07-2020 09:08 PM

    >> Having read your article carefully and thought about it, I am not sure if my comments are meant to buttress or attack your position.


    >> First though a few nits to pick.  The NYT "waves of house buying" in Westchester and other suburbs is anecdotal at best.  The numbers behind significant percentage increases in buyer inquiries there are minuscule when applied as departures from NYC.  Your 10% traffic reduction is actually at best 3% as it is 10% of 33% and ignores commercial traffic.  I think your discussion of the future of office space ignores two important factors.  One, we are all, even us architects, going to get tired of and recognize the weaknesses of working remotely as soon as the pandemic no longer requires it.  Two, we are going to discover that we don't need a lot of those people who are working from home.  The Andrew Yang concern is real, and unless climate change renders all of this a side show, finding new uses for office space in a 40% unemployment economy is going to be more important than the residual effects of the pandemic.


    >> Finally, this.  I think I have come to realize over the last six months how much my professions, architecture and urban design, live, practice and think in a white, entitled world.  I live most of the year in Hamilton Heights.  My block is likely 60% very low income and similarly inhabited by people of color.  Even though my neighborhood took an above average hit from Covid-19, life up here goes on.  Street life, trips to the barber, hair salon, bodega, and laundry, grocery shopping, dog walking and even riding the subway have pretty much returned to normal (masked of course).  Striving for the American Dream, all across the five boroughs, I think, has determinedly, at least for now, fended off the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

    >> Respectfully submitted

    Mike Mense FAIA

    Hamilton Heights




    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


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