The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about changes in human lifestyle. We are required to practice physical distancing and maintain hygiene. The shift in lifestyle has significant implications for various habits, ranging from how we interact, entertain guests, consume, to how we work. As we are aware, Covid-19 has led a substantial number of people to engage in more activities from home. The changes in habits are closely related to the design of residential homes, which should be adapted to accommodate this new way of life. The following is an overview of the design of residential homes in the post-pandemic era.
The most noticeable change in lifestyle due to the pandemic is in work and education, where Covid-19 has necessitated individuals to work, attend school, and study from home. In the future, residential homes will be designed with a clearer separation between living spaces and work and study spaces. This is intended to ensure that your productive activities are not disrupted by personal activities. This separation also aims to create a more conducive working and learning environment.
Homes are designed with clear zoning that significantly protects the health of residents from potential external contamination. For example, the public zone, which includes spaces for receiving guests or couriers, is placed somewhat separate from the private zone, such as the family room, either horizontally or vertically.
Homes are designed to be open to maximize sunlight and airflow, making the home healthier. This can be achieved by creating numerous openings on the sides of the building that receive ample sunlight. Cross-ventilation can be implemented to facilitate air exchange, which is a crucial aspect of residential home design.
One way to achieve this is by optimizing resources in the home area, minimizing residents' dependence on the outside. For instance, utilizing the garden as a productive plot for growing vegetables, kitchen herbs, or fruits.
The pandemic has resulted in many people being unable to engage in activities outside the home freely. Activities that were once done outdoors have had to move indoors. This necessitates more multi-functional and versatile spaces. The spatial arrangement is carefully organized and adjustable to enable various activities such as sports or play areas for children. Adjust to the types of sports that can be done indoors. Some types of sports equipment even do not take up much space.
Still related to multi-functional spaces, the use of compact furniture allows for easy layout changes. If an activity requires a large space, this furniture can be arranged and stored without consuming much time and effort. During the pandemic, I have occasionally moved furniture several times to find a new workspace atmosphere. In addition to facilitating arrangement, compact furniture also makes it easier for us to clean the space.
Providing a guest bedroom for distant family members but also allowing it to be used as a self-isolation room. Its location is arranged in a different zone from the private living area and has a dedicated bathroom. With such an arrangement, the privacy of guests is better maintained and can be used as an isolation room in case of emergencies.
The pandemic has forced most people to cook and not buy food from outside. This makes the kitchen one of the most important spaces in the home. The kitchen is likened to the heart of the home. A carefully designed kitchen that meets safety standards makes cooking activities more enjoyable. The kitchen should also have direct access to the front area of the house. Besides safety reasons (in case of a fire), newly purchased cooking ingredients will not pass through other rooms in the house.
Storage and Cold Storage
Similar to the kitchen, the storage area is placed near the side door and has separate access from the main rooms. The storage area is used to store daily necessities such as soap, shampoo, detergent, and others. Meanwhile, cold storage is a safe and dry place for long-term storage of frozen and emergency food. Cold storage should ideally be located near the kitchen. Its size does not have to be large, but it should be able to accommodate enough food for several weeks, depending on the number of household occupants. With this room, the routine of shopping outside the home can be reduced.
Mudroom, a transitional space between the outside and inside of the house that supports the hygiene of residents. With a spacious mudroom, residents can have a place to store shoes, umbrellas, helmets, or other outdoor gear. The transition space should also have direct access to a bathroom or a separate laundry room from the main access inside the house. The goal is to allow residents from outside to avoid contaminating germs inside the house. We can learn from local wisdom such as Padasan, where a large container of water is used to wash body parts like hands, feet, and face before entering the house. In ancient times, this object was usually placed at the front of the dwelling. This way, residents enter the house in a clean state.
The materials used in a house should preferably be easy to maintain, including materials and furnishings. For instance, sofa upholstery should be easily removable for washing and cleaning. The COVID-19 pandemic demands that we consistently uphold cleanliness, including maintaining the cleanliness of our living spaces.
As more people opt for online shopping during the pandemic, even for everyday necessities, the concept of a package drop serves a function similar to a mailbox but with a larger size to accommodate packages. Placed in front of the house, its purpose is to receive packages or gifts before they enter the house. However, it is crucial to ensure its design is secure against theft.
Building Utility Circulation
Electrical and plumbing lines are arranged in such a way as to allow for a dedicated circulation path for technicians conducting system repairs. This circulation path is separated from the main circulation path used by the residents of the house. Therefore, if there are issues, such as with an outdoor AC unit, technicians won't need to traverse the main circulation areas of the house.
If feasible, strive to incorporate technology into the design of the house, such as utilizing electrical energy from solar panels, touchless faucet devices with sensor systems, smart LED lights controllable via smartphones, CCTV and intercom systems for communication with visitors outside the gate, or fast internet facilities.
Small Yet Significant Details
Several small details are also crucial to consider. Doors with foot pull handles, push-open drawers, are examples of accessories that can be employed to minimize the spread of germs through hand contact.
These are some ideas that can be utilized to design a home that is responsive to pandemic issues. Hopefully, they can serve as inspiration, and remember to prioritize health.