Our buildings and cities were not designed to handle a pandemic. But countries around the world are coming up with design ideas, some high-tech and some more basic, to reduce the infection risks.
Many older women are in desperate need of affordable housing where they can age in place securely, with dignity and as part of a community. The siheyuan model offers ways to meet these needs.
EPA/Sunling China Out
People love to connect with nature and that's possible with vertical gardens on high-rise developments. But gardens need a gardener to keep things under control.
Super-spreader events typically have the 'three Vs" in common: indoor venues, poor ventilation and vocalisation. But many buildings frequented by the public lack ventilation or the means to monitor it.
Most aged care homes are designed to be naturally ventilated. But when windows are closed to keep out the cold, poor ventilation appears to be common – and that's a problem for infection control.
If more people work from home and shop online, many commercial buildings won't be needed any longer. What will be needed is affordable housing, and these buildings can be converted to meet this need.
Sberbank Technopark in Russia by Zaha Hadid Architects.
Zaha Hadid Architects
Algorithms can now work out the best ways to lay out rooms, construct buildings and even change them over time to meet user needs.
Developed nations like Spain struggled to provide enough hospital beds for coronavirus patients, so what are poorer nations to do?
COVID-19 is creating overwhelming needs for intensive care and testing facilities. An Australian team is developing purpose-built units that can be shipped and erected quickly, easily and cheaply.
Earth-covered houses are not only highly fire-resistant, but sustainable features such as off-grid power and water supplies could also be life-saving in a bushfire.
Implosion is the most dramatic way of demolishing a building but it’s also the most wasteful and hazardous.
The problems of demolishing high-rise buildings in busy cities point to the need to prepare for unbuilding at the time of building. We'd then be much better placed to recycle building materials.
The materials used for cladding buildings can greatly affect a building’s overall vulnerability to fire. In Australia, buildings with flammable cladding continue to pose safety concerns.
Ensuring a building will be safe against fire requires careful consideration from not only fire engineers, but also from builders, architects and building owners.
Towering canyons of concrete and glass are an increasingly dominant feature of fast-growing cities like Melbourne.
Planning controls in Melbourne were eased 20 years ago, with mixed results, and new limits are now in place. Will other cities that have eased height limits, like Adelaide, avoid the same mistakes?
Australia’s new National Construction Code doesn’t go far enough in preparing our built environment for climate change.
Fires and building failures highlighted serious gaps in Australian building regulations. But recent revisions and recommendations still fall short of preparing our buildings for climate change.
What does a green star rating – One Central Park apartments in Sydney
received five stars, for instance – actually mean?
Buildings are central to creating more sustainable cities, and green ratings are often used to assess how well a building measures up against this goal. But the current system has serious flaws.
Living in a single-storey unit can lead to much higher air conditioning costs.
Aged-care units can be a lottery of comfortable versus uncomfortable temperatures, depending on the building's construction and where you live within it. That needs to improve.