Changes occurred in architectural perspective after COVID-19
The effects of the pandemic are still rippling out on so many levels. Every day all of us are having conversations which I feel are more honest than ever before. As our vulnerability became exposed, many societal flaws were not just also exposed, but explicitly addressed. There have also been huge shocks, such as Black Lives Matter, and whilst on the surface attention to the issues of inequity, systemic racism and climate change seems to ebb away somewhat as we are hoping to emerge from lockdown and get back to ‘normal’, I see strong indications around me that in fact all those issues are taken on by the professional world of architecture and urbanism and leading to hopeful changes.
There are many professionals who have used this past year to get together and make action plans to tackle the problems that COVID-19 brought to light. Moving from activism to action is less electrifying and newsy; the energy is different, but nevertheless change is happening. In the Netherlands there is a great movement towards reinstating centralized planning as we have an enormous housing crisis. Moreover, there is an unprecedented and a deep felt awareness that an integral approach to our problems is needed. Affordable housing in conjunction with mobility, with nature inclusivity, with awareness that our below sea level land cannot be kept dry in perpetuity.
Recommendations to students
Aside from all the above, I am really curious to see how people will find better ways to live and work.
I hear from lots of my colleagues and friends that they love working from home, that they don’t miss socializing, that they feel liberated from lots of pressure and FOMO.
It will be so interesting to see how this pans out. Can we still be inspired by each other through screens? Can we find enough collective trust for each of us to find our own way in this and still be there for each other? As designers, it is up to you to help with how…
Caroline Bos studied History of Art at Birkbeck College of the University of London and Urban and Regional Planning at the Faculty of Geosciences, University of Utrecht. In 1988 she co-founded the Van Berkel & Bos Architectuurbureau with the architect Ben van Berkel, extending her theoretical and writing projects to the practice of architecture. In 1998 Caroline Bos co-founded UNStudio (United Net). She has taught as a guest lecturer at Princeton University, the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and the Academy of Architecture in Arnhem. In 2012 she was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
UNStudio’s mission is to design for lasting impact and contribute to the societal challenges of urbanisation, climate change, ageing populations and socioeconomic inequality. Driven by purpose and focused on solutions, we create value by designing for the implications of these megatrends on our built environment.