Home as a sanctuary
Anubhav Gupta, business head - Vikhroli, head of CSR and Sustainability, founder of GPL Design Studio, Godrej Properties, explores the changes that homes will undergo in the future
In living memory, never perhaps has there been a time where truly the entire world has shut down and is struggling to grapple with health, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental turmoil all at the same time. The COVID-19 pandemic has both divided and united the world simultaneously and at large. In all likelihood, ongoing events and those leading up to them will have a far reaching impact on all of us.
One of the primary responses has been the emergence of the home as a sanctuary as lockdowns the world over have confined us to our homes, making them the centre of our lives. Ownership, location, proximity, form, function, planning, design and development will all undergo significant changes as we adapt our ways towards resilience.
1. Home owners will prioritise and seek proximity to all essentials within walking radius. This may result in a preference for mixed-use master plans.
2. High degree of services planning with systems designed for a higher home occupancy. Increased automation with sensors monitoring quality of water, air as well as ambient temperature. High-speed broadband bandwidth and support.
3. Design for effective facility management, easy maintenance and use.
4. Design for reduced density – fewer apartments to a core. Streamlined people movement with separate elevator cores for staff/ visitors and increased adoption of touch-free technology.
5. Innovations for health – antimicrobial/ antibacterial materials that are easy to clean, double bowl kitchen sinks for disinfection and a dedicated pantry for food storage.
6. Clear separation from the outside with sequencing – powder rooms at the apartment entrance that provide residents an opportunity to sanitise as soon as you enter.
7. Focus on individual self-sufficiency with fully kitted-out kitchens and utility areas furnished with sustainable white goods and equipment.
8. Spaces to engage and unwind with the emergence of home gyms and a renewed focus on balconies to get fresh air.
9. Flexibility in spaces for different members to adapt for simultaneous use. Planning for privacy and acoustics to allow for different functions to be carried out simultaneously within the apartment.
10. Purpose-built home offices designed for ergonomic ease with technology integrated for a seamless physical/ virtual experience.
11. Focus on resilience with amenities that encourage self-sufficiency – balcony gardens for apartments and community urban farms for the collective.
12. Increased adoption of green and wellness standards – development planning will integrate parameters for health and well-being with a renewed focus on daylit spaces, natural ventilation, air quality and water security.
Innovations in design for increased resilience may not just be limited to trends alone, but in truly evolving the way we live, learn, work, play, eat, drink and socialise. These difficult times are teaching us what is important and for the right reasons. They are reminding us of what we do not want with a clear insight into what a brighter future could be. Despite all current challenges, the skies are bluer, the air is cleaner, water is purer, flora and fauna seem to be regenerating, and we are sure that we like it this way as compared to how it has been. Perhaps and hopefully, we will see the silver lining in these dark clouds and the year 2020 in the future will come to represent the idea that hindsight was indeed 2020; and that we as humans changed our ways for the better to deserve a sustainable and healthy future.