Design Beyond the Pandemic
Authored by Rakhee Bedi Kumar, Founding Principal, RSDA
The pandemic has succeeded in disrupting the socio-economic structure of the entire world and the field of architecture and interior design has felt the shocks and not ripples of it. Life changes in random and unpredictable ways, as we are quickly discovering, that can and do have profound effects on our economic realities.
The impact on architecture is still unclear in terms of immediate future and for macrocosm. With stalled construction sites, fluctuating financial markets and designers who are working from home, these situations have disturbed the efficiency of the construction industry at a macro level. A complete stall on site works has forced a drastic change in the development-based finances.
Speaking of the ongoing design and build sites which were closed, the projects have a tendency to face an inconsistent economy, not just currently but also when the construction restarts. The process will be mindboggling; from sanitisation of the frozen sites to getting the labourers on board, it will consume months of time before the sites start functioning as they were left. Due to the inconsistencies, there is also a chance of losing clients in this period; while the site deliverables and project finances are already being delayed. Lack of labour or supply of labour, owing to our labour centric sites, will impact site completion and deadlines.
Material and product supply chain will be delayed due to the national lockdown; projects with diversified material that are collected from various parts of the country, will be affected due to stalled transportation. Once the lockdown ends, there will be a considerable time lapse before the production of materials. On a positive note, this experience endorses usage of local material in construction which reduces energy and carbon foot prints.
The crisis could also spur changes in construction technology; learning from the situation, construction techniques must be improvised in terms of technology in order to continue the work, despite of lack in labour. Pre-fab construction, being an alternative solution, might change the future of construction in India. A change in outlook of design in terms of health and hygiene is anticipated due to the pandemic.
As much as the pandemic has bent the curve, with a positive ideation of the situation, one can say that the importance of looking at rational and new avenues has come up even in the field of Architecture and interior design. When all this passes as a horrific nightmare, we are sure to bounce back with an exhilarating work!