Architecture for Everyone was asked by a contractor to do a series of quick design studies to anticipate future projects after COVID-19 pandemic. It started as a pre-manufactured steel building but then it quickly morphed into redefining surplus of existing commercial space.
COVID-19 devastates the world in so many ways but it also allows us to test working remotely to the extreme. As it turns out, working remotely is not as detrimental to productivity as previously thought. This brings to the first argument that commercial centers will be spread out further from the city or urban centers closer to the residential neighborhoods creating demand for smaller building structures that can be constructed quickly and cost-effectively. The challenge is how to use a modular pre-manufactured steel building to satisfy this need. The study starts by finding a module that can be added on or combined or expanded over time as needed based on the structural capability of the pre-manufactured structure. The module design needs to allow a unique design to fit the site, weather, and function as well as aesthetically attractive to entice investors, renters, and customers. Unique corners are provided to allow the form to fit on irregular sites as needed. The design can be used as classrooms, small retail, offices, churches, and many others.
The second argument sees the entrepreneurial spirit of those who decide to start their own business as they want to maintain their freedom in work hours and the ability to stay close to their families. With the anticipation that the majority of large businesses shrinks after the pandemic, there will be surplus commercial space ripe for tenant improvement projects, especially co-working office for those new businesses. The study focuses on how this type of space in different buildings and geographical locations can be transformed into creative space. Starting with a module for one person, followed by the circulation needs, open working space, office size, conference room, etc., each functional component is composed and fit within the space. The number and make-up of components will be determined by the client’s need and market demand.