Trend Spotlight: Post-COVID Architecture
Each month, Weber Shandwick’s Trends in Two Minutes bulletin outlines three trends impacting businesses throughout Asia Pacific. With Trend Spotlight, we share some of the individual trends highlighted. Today, a look at the new shifts to architecture and site design being introduced by the pandemic.
It’s not widely known that much of modern architecture owes its aesthetics and design to tuberculosis. The minimalist, boxy layouts and airy, light, clean metal fixtures associated with today’s offices and residential buildings evolved from an architectural shift to austere, functional, hospital-inspired spaces to combat tuberculosis in the early twentieth century.
The needs arising from tuberculosis in earlier centuries are very much comparable to those of the current pandemic. Once known as ‘the white plague’, tuberculosis, by the time of the 1800s, had already been responsible for 14% of deaths in recorded history. Given the similar scope, COVID-19 is driving similar shifts in architecture.
Design changes are already afoot. Many supermarket brands, for example, have already restructured their outlets to create one-way pathways for consumers to better enforce social distancing. But, more drastic, long-term shifts will unfold throughout numerous business sectors – redesigned office spaces, airports, hotels, and more.
Throughout these shifts, consultation, communication, and change management will be essential for brands. At their core, these shifts in architecture are reflective of shifts in values and needs. If not effectively communicated across the stakeholder mix, they may not reflect those values as planned – and lead to backlash for businesses.
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