What a global pandemic can teach us about our buildings

The coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, causing chaos, terror and sadness throughout the world. Some of us will endure the minor convenience of having to stay at home, others will pay a much higher price.

The lockdown is changing the way we live and work, at least temporarily. It is also giving us time for reflection. I am fascinated by the buildings that we live in, work in and play in, and have been thinking recently about what lessons we may learn during these difficult times.

Friends and family are all-important

During this lockdown, we will be kept in close proximity to some people, and kept at a distance from others. We look forward to the day when we can mingle again, freely. This distance, and the fact this virus will claim thousands of lives, will hopefully remind us all how important these people are.

I have previously written that the dinner table is the most important feature in a home (Faris Mousa: The Most Important Piece of Furniture in Any Home) because it is where I spend time with my family: cooking, chatting, even doing our homework. I try to design all my homes with social elements, encouraging people to come together. Let’s hope we all make the most of being together when we have the opportunity.

Public buildings are an important part of society

There is nothing quite like being denied something to realise how much you value it. During this lockdown, this is true of all manner of places: bars and restaurants, sports stadiums, libraries and galleries, even gyms. 

Some buildings are merely functional, some are beautiful, too. Beautiful buildings even bring in tourists from around the world, that’s how much we value them.

Let’s remember how much we missed these places. As individuals, let’s make full use of them when they’re once again able to open the doors (they will certainly appreciate the income) and as a society, let’s appreciate what an important role these buildings play in our daily lives, and give them the attention and investment which they deserve.