How will COVID-19 affect in the design of buildings?

 

Architecture, such as any other aspect in our daily lives, evolves depending on socio economic factors of society. The arrival of COVID-19 will without question also alter the architectural proposals of buildings.

Changes generate the need for adaption.

Since COVID-19 struck our society we have seen hotels and sports pavilions transformed into hospitals, empty offices, long lines in supermarkets, rooftops full of life and homes full of people.

The buildings of the future will also have to adapt.

The first spaces that will be represented in the new design will be the ones that offer more possibilities and until this moment were still not being completely used and taken advantage of: Rooftops.

How many of us have seen neighbors going up to the rooftop to do some exercise or workout? The change has begun.

Rooftops will be thought of as an area of relation between neighbors, spaces to work out or even to create urban gardens. It is usually a clear area where you can run, sunbathe or even have a small barbeque.

But let’s take it to the next level, ¿might rooftops be used as drop off spots by your delivery company who will ship the packages by drone?

The buildings will look for more natural light and better sunning. The lock down has made us be more conscious that a balcony, a terrace or a patio in our homes gives us life. For that reason, investors will try to maximize the private outdoor space built in a home.

Building entryways will also be affected. The digital transformation and peak of online business will make conventional mailboxes disappear and in their place there will be lockers so deliverymen can place packages in them.

Elevators will become more technological, who knows if with facial recognition or with contactless buttons so you can go up to the floor you are going to and don’t have to touch anything at all.

In last place, garages which seemed that were slowly going to be left out of use in favor of public transportation or car sharing, ¿Will they gain importance once more?

In China, going back to normal life after confinement has provoked a boom in car sales, probably because people are afraid of sharing space in a train wagon.

What is sure is that, the process of adaptation has begun and now it is our turn as architects to take the reins of this change, humanize buildings and be able to take advantage of our design by thinking in our client’s well-being.

 

The change has begun,
Now we need to adapt!

If you have found this article interesting, you can continue reading the following post:

The transformation of our homes due to COVID-19 : Before and After

 

The transformation of our homes as a consequence of the COVID-19

Since March 14th, as a consequence of the state of alarm launched by the Spanish government due to the COVID-19 crisis, our routines have had to change.

Until then we got up every morning, showered, got ready and went to our work places. We either drove or took public transportation to get there, and from early morning until night time we were in contact with countless people.

Due to this, from one day to another, life has changed for the majority of us. We have had to adapt our homes as much as possible by making them part of our daily routine and we have ended up working, exercising and playing with our children entirely in our homes.

We have had to live diverse situations inside the walls of our homes which we had never thought we would nor were our homes prepared for holding such activities.

We have realized that it is important to have space in our homes for each activity; for working and studying, playing, doing exercise and doing our hobbies. However, we don’t always have enough space to be able to have a designated area for each activity and that is why we want to highlight the importance that the ability of transformation of the spaces has.

Many of us can relate to having to improvise a work area in our kitchen space or living room and while you were on an important conference call a family member popped in the screen or you had background noise that made the video call difficult.

It is more and more common to have homes with open and connected spaces to have a better feeling of amplitude of the space but until now we didn’t take into account that these spaces should be able to be transformed or even separated during the day depending on what activity you want to carry out in them.

It is more often necessary to, even if the space is open and wide, divide the space in specific moments to be able to give the space more than one use simultaneously.

In the image you can see below, The Casa Osca by NextArquitectura that you can find in our website, we find a large space as the children’s bedroom and study room.

This room can be divided depending on what it is needed for each specific moment by using this large sliding door that can give privacy or connect the spaces.

We will start giving more importance to the correct orientation of the house and its rooms to be able to work at ease and spend many hours of the day without being overwhelmed.

Another basic need, that we will increase value to, is the fact of having an outdoor space; a terrace, garden or balcony big enough to go outside and breathe some fresh air.

We are sure that you have seen many images of families improvising and changing their furniture’s location to get sofas and couches in front of a window to be able to enjoy the rays of sun. We will end up giving more value to a square meter of terrace than of indoor space.

In the image you can see below of one of the houses designed by NextArquitectura (Casa Sant Feliu) which can be found in the web site, there is a very pleasant exterior covered space. It is a chill out area that can be used both in summer and winter.

It is said that the coronavirus won’t disappear easily and that it won’t be the first time that we will have to adapt to this type of situation.

What has now caught us by surprise has also taught us that we will have to be prepared and adapted in case it ever happens again so we will have the capacity of changing our routines easily without it practically affecting our emotions and feelings.

If you have found this post interesting you can continue reading in the following post:
How will the Coronavirus affect the design of buildings?

 

LA TRANSFORMACIÓN DE NUESTRAS VIVIENDAS A CONSECUENCIA DEL COVID-19

Desde el pasado 14 de marzo, a consecuencia del estado de alarma puesto en marcha por la crisis del COVID-19, nuestras rutinas han tenido que cambiar.

Hasta entonces nos levantábamos por la mañana, nos duchábamos, arreglábamos e íbamos a nuestros centros de trabajo, cogíamos el coche, tren, metro o moto, y desde primera hora de la mañana hasta la noche nos relacionábamos con infinidad de gente.

A raíz de esto, de un día para otro, a la mayoría de nosotros nos ha cambiado la situación y hemos tenido que adaptar nuestras viviendas como hemos podido, haciendo que formaran parte de nuestra rutina y hemos acabado trabajando, haciendo deporte, jugando con los niños, únicamente dentro de casa.

Viviendo situaciones diversas en nuestros hogares que no habíamos imaginado ni estaban preparados para ello.

Nos hemos dado cuenta de que es importante tener un espacio para cada cosa; para trabajar y estudiar, para jugar, hacer ejercicio y realizar nuestros hobbies.

No siempre contamos con espacios suficientemente grandes para poder destinar una habitación o estancia únicamente para una actividad y es por esto que queremos resaltar la importancia que tiene la capacidad de transformación de los espacios.

¿Cuántos de nosotros hemos tenido que improvisar un estudio en la cocina, comedor o salón y mientras hacíamos una videoconferencia importante de trabajo, se han cruzado con familiares, niños o ruidos externos que han dificultado la reunión?

Cada vez tenemos viviendas con estancias más abiertas y unidas para tener mayor sensación de espacio, pero no caemos en la cuenta de que en estos espacios a lo largo del día se puedan transformar e independizar unos de otros. Cada vez es más necesario que, aunque un espacio sea abierto y diáfano, se pueda fragmentar en determinados momentos para poder tener varios usos de forma simultánea.

En la imagen que vemos a continuación, la Casa Osca de NextArquitectura que podéis encontrar entre nuestros proyectos realizados, encontramos un gran espacio de estudio y habitación de los niños.

Esta estancia se puede compartimentar según los intereses mediante esta gran puerta corredera que privatiza o unifica los espacios.

Cada vez valoraremos más la correcta orientación de la casa y de cada una de las estancias para poder trabajar a gusto y pasarnos todas las horas del día sin agobiarnos. Otra necesidad básica que valoraremos mucho más es la de tener una terraza, jardín o balcón suficientemente grande para poder salir a respirar un poco de aire.

Cuántas imágenes hemos visto estos días de improvisaciones de sofás y butacas frente a una ventana sólo para poder disfrutar de los pocos minutos de rayos de sol. Acabaremos valorando más un metro cuadrado de terraza que de espacio interior.

En la imagen que os mostramos a continuación, una de la casas diseñadas por Next (Casa Sant Feliu) que podéis encontrar entre nuestros proyectos realizados, hay un espacio exterior cubierto muy agradable para estos días. Es la zona de comer y de relax tanto en invierno como en verano.

Se dice que no será tan fácil deshacernos del coronavirus y que no será la primera vez que tendremos que adaptarnos a esta situación.

Lo que ahora nos ha cogido por sorpresa, nos ha enseñado a que nos tendremos que preparar y adaptar para que, si vuelve a pasar, tener las capacidades de cambiar nuestra rutina con facilidad sin afectar prácticamente a nuestras emociones y sentimientos.

Si te ha interesado el artículo, puedes seguir leyendo más en el siguiente post:

¿Cómo afectará el coronavirus al diseño de los edificios?

 

¿CÓMO AFECTARÁ EL CORONAVIRUS AL DISEÑO DE LOS EDIFICIOS?

 

La arquitectura, como cualquier otro factor de nuestro día a día, evoluciona dependiendo de los factores socio-económicos de la sociedad. La llegada del COVID-19 sin duda también alterará las propuestas arquitectónicas de los edificios.

Los cambios generan la necesidad de adaptación.

Desde la llegada del Covid-19 hemos visto hoteles y pabellones convertirse en hospitales, oficinas vacías, colas en supermercados, azoteas llenas de vida y viviendas repletas de gente. Los edificios del futuro también se adapatarán.

Los primeros espacios que se repensarán en los nuevos diseños serán los que brindan mayores posibilidades y hasta ahora no estaban del todo aprovechados: Las cubiertas.

¿Cuántos de nosotros estos días hemos visto cómo los vecinos suben a las azoteas a hacer deporte o tomar el sol? El cambio ha empezado.

Las terrazas superiores empezarán a pensarse como zona de relación, espacios para hacer deporte o incluso como huertos urbanos. Suele ser la zona del edificio más despejada, donde se puede correr, tomar el sol o incluso hacer una pequeña barbacoa.
Pero vayamos más allá, ¿servirán las cubiertas para que una empresa de reparto haga entrega de un pedido en dron?

Los edificios cada vez buscarán más luz y mejor soleamiento. El confinamiento nos ha hecho ser conscientes de que un balcón, una terracita o un patio en nuestra vivienda nos da la vida.

Por este motivo, los promotores buscarán darle el máximo espacio exterior privado a las viviendas que construyan.

Las entradas a los edificios también se verán afectadas. La transformación digital y el auge de los negocios online hará que los buzones desaparezcan y en su lugar habrá taquillas para que los repartidores puedan entregar sus pedidos.

Los ascensores se volverán mucho más tecnológicos, quien sabe si con reconocimiento facial para llevarte a tu piso o con botones contactless para no tener que ir tocando todos las mismas teclas.

Por último, los aparcamientos, que parecían que poco a poco iban en desuso en favor del transporte público o el carsharing, ¿pasarán a tomar importancia?

En china la vuelta a la normalidad después del confinamiento ha llevado a un boom de ventas de coches, probablemente generado por el miedo a compartir espacio en un vagón de tren.

Lo que es seguro, es que el proceso de adaptación ha empezado, y ahora nos toca a los arquitectos tomar las riendas de este cambio para que los humanizar los edificios y poder sacarles el máximo partido a nuestros diseños pensando en el bienestar del usuario.

El cambio ha empezado,
¡Ahora toca adaptarse!

Si os ha interesado el artículo, podéis seguir leyendo más en el siguiente post:

La transformación de nuestras viviendas a causa del COVID-19; un antes y un después.

 

Should we use brick or plasterboard walls inside our house?

 

This is one of the most frequently asked questions when we think about doing a project, either in new construction, rehabilitation or renovation. In Spain we have been using brick as a material to create interior divisions in buildings for centuries and that is why most people tend to think that it is undoubtedly the best solution.

In this post we will talk about why using plasterboard partitions, commonly known as Pladur (commercial brand name), is a very good option or perhaps even the best according to some professionals in this field.

 

Advantages of brick walls when deciding between plasterboard and brick:

 

Easy transport. Due to their size, bricks can be easily transported to the building site and, once there, we normally have no problem with the placement.

Cost effective material. Both brick and mortar, which is used to join the bricks, are economical materials.

Easy to work with. Often, we find setbacks or joins that have to be made with precision and care. When using brick, the operator has greater freedom in working these details.

High resistance. We can hang both light objects such as paintings or shelves to heavy furniture, boilers… without having to anticipate it beforehand because the resistance of the walls is equal in its entire surface.

Before and after images of the brick walls in the Casa Forn project

 

Brick walls or walls made out of stone materials have been built for thousands of years. On the other hand, we can say that those made out of plasterboard or laminated plaster are new in comparison, although they were invented more than 100 years ago.

The first factory was installed in the United States in 1894, but it was not until 1978 that this material arrived in Spain thanks to the Uralita Company. So, after more than 40 years in the Spanish market, what advantages can plasterboard offer us?

 

Advantages of plasterboard walls when deciding between plasterboard and brick:

 

• Quick to install. Plasterboard plates, due to their size and simplicity of assembly, are faster to place.

• Dry installation. Since mortar and plasters are not required, we save time and the installation is cleaner.

• Less rubble. Due to the dry installation and the plasterboard plates, when we cut them, the remaining piece is easy to use.

• Light structure. A positive aspect, especially for renovations and rehabilitations, is the light weight of the interior walls made out of plasterboard; therefore we do not apply large loads to the existing structure.

• Smooth finish. Plasterboard provides a better look, with completely smooth walls and no need for plastering. Once we have the joints between plates, and the paste is applied on the joints and screws, the wall is ready to be painted.

• No ditches. Nowadays, we need to install a large number of cables and pipes in any building, which in the case of brick partitions must be embedded, creating ditches and rubs that weaken the walls. Using plasterboard, we always have a space between plates for these pipes, making the process faster, cleaner and safer.

• They adapt easily. The components of plasterboard can be easily modified or combined, so manufacturers continue to create different types of plaques according to our needs. In the case of the Pladur brand, among the most common, we can find the following solutions:

Pladur N (gray) – Standard model

Pladur H1 (green) – water and moisture resistant

Pladur F (pink) and A1 (white) – fire resistant

Pladur I (yellow) – Increased impact resistance

Pladur Fonic (blue) – with greater acoustic insulation

Pladur Therm and Pladur Lan – with high thermal performance

 

If it presents all of these qualities, why don’t we use Pladur more often?

The tradition and roots of the brick, which we mentioned previously, influences more than we think and therefore the brick is a material that is better accepted by the general public.

In addition, since plasterboard entered the Spanish market it has received a false bad reputation, which may have been given because the material was not used correctly.

Here are some of the most common complaints regarding Pladur:

The material’s resistance. Many people discard plasterboard for this reason, but the truth is that they should not because plasterboard walls are as resistant as brick walls and therefore we can hang anything on a plasterboard wall that we could on a brick one, although there are some aspects to take into account. When hanging loads of less than 30kgs on walls we will need to use appropriate plugs that will be specified by the manufacturer (umbrella, knot in large loads…). In the case of loads heavier than 30kgs, such as furniture, boilers… we have to plan for it, and we will have to fix them to a reinforcement to be incorporated in the wall (either during assembly or later). Therefore, it is true that in this last case we do not have this tranquility that the brick offers of not having to carefullyplan what we are going to hang on our walls.

Acoustic and / or thermal insulation. As it is a system that seems less firm or consistent, it gives us the feeling that we will hear everything that happens on the other side of the wall, or that it is a system that cannot thermally insulate properly. This is completely false because this system allows us to place acoustic or thermal insulation in its inner chamber, achieving better results with the same thickness. In addition, by not have to cut furrows in the walls it creates a screen without cuts that eliminates low frequency sounds.

The price. As explained previously, the materials used in brick walls are cheaper. However, if we take into account all the factors, we realize that the installation of plasterboard is always faster, cleaner and we are able to paint directly on it without the need for plastering. Thanks to all these factors we manage to match the price of a brick wall. So to decide we cannot be oriented by the price since both systems will cost approximately the same.

Before and after images of the plasterboard walls and ceiling in the Casa Antoninus project

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, both systems are completely valid, although depending on the type of project defined and the location of the project, we can always opt for one system or another.

In the case of the plasterboard, it is a little more difficult to find specialized operators and it is very important to know if it is a professional who is installing it for us. And although it seems logical, whichever system is chosen, we will always need a technician who knows how to advise us correctly and can guide the operators according to our needs.

 

The importance of zenithal lighting in architecture

 

Nowadays there is a need to illuminate the spaces we inhabit, that is, to illuminate the activities that we carry out inside buildings. Designing the lighting protocol with either natural or artificial light is a part of the architectural process.

In many cases, the type of lighting to be used is suggested thanks to the characteristics of the environment. The lighting options won’t be the same in an isolated house, where you can more easily install windows wherever you want to, than for example, in a house between party walls.

Thus, the environment can suggest but does not have to condition or make us give up the inclusion of natural light in all spaces. Therefore, the resource used in many cases is overhead lighting.

In our last post, we talked about the English house typology. It is precisely in this type of housing where you can truly understand the concept of zenithal lighting and its importance.

 

 

Zenithal light in architecture

 

We understand zenithal light as light that enters the building from an overhead position. It is also the lighting that we relate with a skylight.

 

Zenithal light is therefore natural light that we receive from above.

As we can see in the images, the types of windows that allow the entry of zenithal light and ventilation are known as Velux.

  

This type of lighting allows us to illuminate spaces where it is impossible to have a window receiving light from the outside and it also allows us to illuminate spaces where the lighting requirements are based on quality and quantity.

In many occasions even though the possibility of lighting through a conventional window exists we choose to use a ceiling window because it creates an atmosphere of comfort and warmth.

This type of ceiling light entry can also occur in intermediate decks such as patios and terraces in cases where under these structures there is a space with lighting difficulties. In these cases, skylights are used and they can be retractable or not, depending on whether it is necessary to combine lighting and ventilation.

Zenithal lighting allows direct contact with the outside, always discreetly and giving privacy, without showing the interior of the house to the street, in the way that a conventional window does.

Another type of zenithal lighting other than the one we explained previously is where light can be taken to the ground floor of the house through a well of light, using an interior patio.

These inner courtyards act as natural light conductors to all the rooms located in the darkest and most difficult areas to illuminate according to this type of housing.

In this way, not only the floor below the roof is illuminated, but the light captured on the roof of the house is distributed and reaches the ground floor.

Overhead lighting is a resource to be used according to the characteristics of the project and according to the design of the interior spaces.

Each interior space must be adapted to the way of living in it; therefore, the type of lighting will allow the used to develop their daily activities.

 

PISCINA DE OBRA O PISCINA PREFABRICADA

Actualmente existe en el mercado gran variedad de piscinas, se diferencian en cuanto a dimensiones, formas, profundidad… pero la principal diferencia entre ellas es solo una, si hablamos de una piscina de obra o una piscina prefabricada.

Antes que nada, hay que dejar claro que cualquier de los dos tipos de piscina son válidos y que van a funcionar a la perfección, obtener un buen resultado solo va a depender de los materiales empleados y del proceso que se haya realizado en la construcción e instalación de la misma.

Pero, ¿Cuáles son las diferencias entre ellas?

Piscina de obra o Piscina prefabricada

Ventajas e inconvenientes de las piscinas prefabricadas:

Si hablamos de ventajas que nos ofrecen las piscinas prefabricadas podemos decir que son más económicas (entre un 20 a un 30% de ahorro) que las piscinas de obra, y su instalación es más sencilla y limpia (no genera polvo), además, hay que tener en cuenta que la ejecución de la obra en una piscina prefabricada es menor, no pasa de los 3 o 4 días.

Como punto negativo podemos decir que una piscina prefabricada tiene limitaciones en su forma, es decir, hay que ceñirse a los modelos existentes.

Aunque existe gran variedad en el mercado, si queremos disponer de una forma muy personalizada por querer aprovechar una esquina o una curva no nos va a ser posible con una piscina prefabricada.

También hay que tener en cuenta la dimensión o profundidad que queremos en una piscina prefabricada, ya que, debido al transporte de la misma, las longitudes no pueden ser mayores a 10m y la profundidad no puede superar los 2,10m, si superamos estas dimensiones, el precio encarece mucho su valor.

Ventajas e inconvenientes de las piscinas de obra:

Referente a las piscinas de obra, en cambio, estas nos ofrecen cualquier tipo de forma y profundidad y con ello el aprovechamiento máximo de los espacios, en contra, las piscinas de obra son menos económicas que las de poliéster y tardan un par o tres de días más en ejecutarse.

A continuación, se muestra una tabla visual muy sencilla con las ventajas e inconvenientes a la hora de escoger entre piscina de obra o piscina prefabricada:

 

 PREFABRICADASDE OBRA
(+)(-)(-)(+)
PRECIO+ x 
RAPIDA INSTALACIÓN+ x 
SUCIEDAD GENERADA+ x 
CONSTRUCCIÓN / MONTAJE+ x 
FORMA Y DISEÑO x +
DIMENSIONES ILIMITADAS x +
VALIDA PARA EL USO+  +

Así pues, a la hora de escoger una piscina u otra se debe valorar qué nos interesa i a qué no queremos renunciar, ya que la funcionalidad, calidad y validez de ambas son totalmente correctas.

 

¿QUÉ CUBIERTA ES MEJOR PARA MI CASA?

La cubierta es la quinta fachada de un edificio y la primera línea de defensa contra el clima.

Tradicionalmente las cubiertas eran inclinadas, sin embargo, desde principios del S.XX las cubiertas planas han adquirido protagonismo con la concepción de “cubierta moderna”.

A la hora de construir no podemos evitar plantearnos ¿cubierta plana o inclinada?

En primer lugar, debemos conocer los requerimientos funcionales que tiene una cubierta, ya sea plana o inclinada.

La principal es asegurar la impermeabilidad. En las cubiertas inclinadas la pendiente y la geometría de las piezas lo resuelven, sin embargo, las inclinadas necesitan una lámina impermeable y una ligera pendiente para evacuar el agua y que esta no se acumule.

La cubierta recibe un mayor impacto de los agentes atmosféricos por eso su diseño y sus materiales deben asegurar la durabilidad ante las condiciones a las que puede ser sometida.

Por último, las cubiertas deben ser resistentes a su propio peso y a los factores externos como pueden ser la nieve o una persona y asegurar un aislamiento térmico y acústico.

Cada cubierta tiene sus ventajas y desventajas y muchas veces estas dependen del tipo de edificio que construimos, el uso que tendrá o su ubicación.

La cubierta inclinada desagua de manera natural por eso es muy común en los climas fríos.

Además, tiene un diseño muy versátil, pues puede combinar distintas pendientes, formas y tamaños.

También permite aprovechar el espacio interior en forma de altillo, consiguiendo espacio adicional.

En Nextarquitectura no perdemos la oportunidad de sacarle partido a este espacio.  

  

En este caso por ejemplo, aprovechamos el bajo cubierta para crear un espacio polivalente de relación. La cubierta inclinada incorpora un gran lucernario que aporta luz y personalidad al espacio.

    

Esta habitación también se coloca bajo la cubierta, ganamos altura y dejamos las vigas de la estructura de madera vistas. El resultado: un espacio amplio y luminoso.

Por otra parte, las cubiertas inclinadas, a pesar de ser más caras de construir, tienen mucho menos mantenimiento que las planas, compensando así el coste de construcción.

Las cubiertas planas tienen la ventaja de poder ser transitables, esto nos abre infinitas posibilidades. Pueden aprovecharse como terrazas, parques, jardines o parking entre otros.

En la siguiente vivienda conseguimos una terraza adicional con vistas al resto de la parcela.