Pandemic Architecture – How Covid-19’s set to shape your space

And, staying true to form, our own quarantine time in 2020 is also impacting our architecture choices – many of us have been experienced working from home on a more serious level. We’re craving separatism from other spaces, better acoustics, and varied outdoor options to turn to. This ‘safe place is home’ mentality means we’re more in tune with our space than ever before, so those renovation ideas are coming hard and fast. We’re noticing the lack of daylight in certain rooms, the impractical flooring in another, the desperate need for another bathroom and an office space that’s completely separate to the open plan kitchen and dining. Covid or no Covid, 2020 has everyone thinking out loud – no tropical holiday but a possible house renovation – why not!

It’s happened before and it’s possibly happening now – disease is affecting our home design, not just our health. Say what! We hear you say – but we speak of nothing new. Let’s go way back to 1933 – to a time when tuberculosis caught hold on the world’s populace. But it also took a hold of modernist architecture and shaped the aesthetics of medical buildings for decades to come. Finnish Architect Hugo Henrik Aalto and his wife completed the Paimio Sanatorium – a tuberculosis facility – innately tailored to patients’ recovery. Think long walls of windows – to extend field of vision, light-coloured rooms – for quietness, large wide roofs, heating sources directed towards feet.

And, staying true to form, our own quarantine time in 2020 is also impacting our architecture choices – many of us have been experienced working from home on a more serious level. We’re craving separatism from other spaces, better acoustics, and varied outdoor options to turn to. This ‘safe place is home’ mentality means we’re more in tune with our space than ever before, so those renovation ideas are coming hard and fast. We’re noticing the lack of daylight in certain rooms, the impractical flooring in another, the desperate need for another bathroom and an office space that’s completely separate to the open plan kitchen and dining. Covid or no Covid, 2020 has everyone thinking out loud – no tropical holiday but a possible house renovation – why not!

Lockdown Over – Time to Lock Into Your Home Renovation Plans

With extra time spent at home in the past two months – tidying the garage, playing with the kids and turning a hand to bread making (FYI did you know bread maker sales have increased 1184% between March – April). And with all that time spent at home, you might have also thought more intently about future reno plans. And that’s a good thing! Why? Because it’s good to give all renovation dreams serious thought before you go jumping into them down the track. Mulling over, jotting down and coming to grips with all the ins, outs and whys of alterations in your pad, ensures that money’s well spent and time invested when push comes to shove.
We know that everyone will have different reasons for wanting to bust through walls and expand spaces – or shrink rooms.

Here’re just a few points that might sway you towards changing up your space . . .
– Nothing flows together – i.e. the kitchen’s jammed next to the main bedroom, which is down the other end of house, miles away from the lounge, which is facing the road instead of north towards the backyard, which means the front deck never gets used.
– It’s locked up – i.e. the kitchen, dining and lounge are all packed into a space which are hidden away from each other with wall, after wall – which means you run a rabbit warren just getting from couch to kitchen sink.
– Old bones playing up – i.e. remedial works might be needed if you’ve sprouted a roof leak, the cladding’s coming away or joinery needs replacing.
When it comes to getting the most out of any reno – big, small or in between – speak up, ask questions and don’t be afraid to keep talking.

The right architect will have a listening ear, great communication pathways and expertise to ensure a job well-done from beginning to end.

We’ve Got the Look – The what’s what in New Zealand architecture

Trendsetter or trend follower, these days it’s hard to keep up – let alone catchup – with what’s happening on the trends front – be it fashion, lifestyle or home. So, can pinning down a true-blue Kiwi architecture style actually be done? Afterall, we entertained the Bay Villa in the early 1900s, we built the bungalow in the 20s, channelled the art deco in the 30s, state housing came to the fore in the 40s and following the 1950s, we saw a most-modernist swing towards contemporary architecture that embraced the indoor/outdoor flow – influenced by traditional Maori buildings and our Kiwi lifestyle.

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According to judges at last year’s World Architectural festival, today’s Kiwi architecture landscape is more in tune with the environment than ever before. The judges awarded the Best Villa title to a Golden Bay designed ‘Bach with Two Roofs’ Villa – designed by two Nelson architects – saying it represented – “Architecture, not as a frozen expression in time, but as an evolving expression of life. A project with environmental considerations at heart and the stewardship of one of depleting resources, the forest.”

With nature and sustainability leading the way, and an all-embracing attitude towards coupling with our environment, what are a few of the key elements we should look to when designing the Kiwi home for the 21st Century and beyond?

  • Texture and depth to reflect landscapes: Dark Graphite benches – which channel rocky outcrops, tall white gloss cabinetry – to reflect views and hills.
  • Natural timber exterior wall cladding; interior walls lined with plywood – for interesting grains and intricacy.
  • Concrete with a board-formed finish.
  • Floating internal and external staircases.
  • Homes which naturally slide into a surround of native shrubs and trees.
  • Slot windows and skylights.
  • ‘outdoor rooms’ – with extended roofs and wide openings.
  • Paint speak – black remains top of the ranks, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mid-century influences of ‘built in’ furniture – bench seats and bunk beds included.
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When it comes to architecture and designing your home, it shouldn’t be about keeping up with the Jones’, rather staying true to your wants, needs and surrounds. We may have plenty of sheep Down Under, but we’ve never been ones to follow. www.coalesce.nz