The work we are presenting in this section has been done by first-year architecture students at the University of Kufa, Department of Architecture. A special thanks to the class chairman Dr. Shubber Falah and the teaching committee for guiding the students throughout the year. Even though it has been a challenging period, and despite the pandemic, the students managed to produced amazing compositions and have a better understanding of the first-year design principles.
In the next pages you can browse the different projects that first year architecture students have studied in 2020-2021 year. Starting with Linear Cube, Kits of parts, and Learning from Precedents.
I was once asked, what is your opinion about the future of architecture and architects. I always believed that any field with creativity measured has a bright future especially with all available technologies and the integration of profession. Architecture is changing rapidly and, in this article, I will discuss others’ opinions about the matter.
The role of architects is changing, as well as the advanced technologies. Architecture is one of the ancient professions that is developing slowly, and the profound fundamentals stayed the same. To be honest, this can be a little worrying and architects should take immediate action. The best way to adapt to that evolution is pushing ourselves and the boundaries of the profession.
In the UK, there is a quick demise of the mid-sized practice and shortfall of jobs, the research of RIBA claims that the architect’s profession could look very different in the near future. The Royal Institute of British Architects mentioned how the demands of a global economy have transformed business practice and the evolution of projects.
Traditional ways are no longer valid, spatial concepts as well. Compost materials are being used, crowdfunding and collaborative design have become the appropriate approaches in architecture. The line is thinning between private and public spaces, there is a focus on green infrastructure and energy efficiency. This is how technology is accelerating the architecture role at an incredible pace.
The long process
One of the issues that I want to highlight is the process from the concept to reality in architecture takes a long time. We can list the core tenets of the process to Interpreting the client, developing a solution, submitting for approval from the local building agency, conveying the design solution to the contractor via construction documents, and verifying the construction is true to the documents provided. The main core of the architect’s business would still be solution-based and focusing on problem-saving in the future. The process will focus less on the drawing process of the construction documents, and more likely on innovation solutions.
Architects practice now and then
The other issue is the barrier that architects made with other professions such as planning and urban design. It is highlighted that practitioner architects need to expand their definition of what the title means. Many non-architects have made their own brand and created their own brand to their main practice to avoid the use of the ‘architect’ term. This helped to enter a diverse market such as lighting, product design, and community consultation which many formal architects can not involve in these areas because of the use of their title. The impact made by non-architects’ practices is significant, especially on the built environment. Also, clients are more sophisticated nowadays and they need more conventional methods, luckily technology is advancing allowing a higher level of information to be easily conveyed.
The impact of a globalizing economy, the exploding information capability, and the cultural confusion are among the things architects need to respond to. Not by far, architects used to be undisputed bosses, but it is more vulnerable now more than ever. Many graduates seem to see this as an opportunity to fulfill the professional institutions to create the conditions which will optimize their chances.
What about the advancement in technology?
Technology plays an important role in shaping architecture, especially with the market’s significant speed increase. There are some companies that started to deliver logistical material via Maps for quicker and more efficient construction methods. We are looking to online firms like DIRTT and Katerra that ignored the traditional ways in design to create drawings by the implementation of advanced technology, they managed to create whole new methods in architecture and logistical standpoints.
Some research suggests that in the near future, there will be no need for individuals checking of construction documents. Digital outputs like BIM (building information technology) will assist in many aspects like regenerative design, renewability, cost, and app-based maintenance programs. The whole process will be shorter and human error will be reduced.
What is the future of architecture as a profession?
As architects, we need to focus on the end-user experience to adapt to the rapid advancement of the market, programmed space, and construction efficiency. We need to adapt while maintaining beautiful designs, there will be more emphasis on how a building operates and supports the end-users, and their overall experience. We need to understand that ego has been always driven by the achievement of architecture history. Nowadays, we are shifting toward performance and building functionality for client’s needs, we need to adapt that. There is a need to find the balance between form and function, time will only tell how the new adaptation will be.
In this article, I’ll share guiding principles for a reference architecture for the Healthcare industry. The main beneficiaries of this reference architecture are patients, health professionals, and Healthcare organizations. Its main users are planners, managers, and Enterprise Architects. A second article will focus on key design ideas for such a reference architecture, followed by a third article to describe its essential capabilities.
Architects and designers are the main role in any construction and became more needed as the industry grows. They have always tried to come up with sustainable designs to avoid any unhealthy spaces generated by the integration of natural air and proper ventilation. In this research, people have turned into healthcare systems to seek urgent treatment and protection that most likely to be insufficient during any major outbreak and it can be shown from big cities who have been hit the most by COVID-19. Infectious diseases were not the only outbreak in the last years, as history shown that such events might occur in the future. The study suggests utilizing an infectious disease surveillance system which can be integrated into our building design to avoid any future outbreak might occur. A study published by (Wang, Jin, Xiong, Tu, & Ye, 2017) discussed the importance of early warning of diseases outbreak and infectious disease surveillance data for disease prevention and control. Community-based surveillance is one of the essential according to target site especially in high-risk population areas (Lan, Zhou, Zhang, & Lai, 2017).
Design regulations pay more attention to fire alarms and emergency exits rather than healthcare and disease surveillance. As the population grows, transportations and buildings advance in developed countries which puts the risk of infectious outbreaks anytime. This study suggests the integration of surveillance and monitoring systems in and future or existing design to reduce the numbers of future outbreaks and to save lives. Although sustainable design is an essential factor to improve any space’s design, there is a need regulation that enables the use of healthcare guidelines into our design. It is evident that the expansion of transportation and population have increased the spread of viral diseases in a very short time, which is why we need urgent attention to our healthcare systems.
The coronavirus recent outbreak shut most businesses, quarantined people in their homes and closed boarders between continents. The latest evident indicated that the pollution, CO2, and NO2 emission level reduced to 40% as many are locked down to avoid the spread of the virus (“Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution | Environment | The Guardian,” n.d.). The reports from China, South Korea, Europe and the USA showed that the NO2 “a toxic gas which causes significant inflammation of the airways” has reduced to 10-30% than normal. The Guardian posted several illustrations of satellite images to prove how the outbreak slashed the world pollution.
WHO said that the pollution from cars engines and power plants increased the NO2 which is a vector for pathogens and many health problems. The World Health Organization is also investigating whether the increasing in pollution has a major impact that made the COVID-19 more virulent.
Other experts explained that it’s too early to confirm that the lockdown and the dropping of air pollution will offset the mortality of COVID-19 or any future health problems(“expert reaction to drop in air pollution because of COVID-19 | Science Media Centre,” n.d.). But these data show how the future will be if we reduced the use of cars and used modern technology, experts say. In the UK, there is the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH)That monitors the ammonia but the monitoring of our carbon dioxide is placed in central London to track the emission. It only shows that there are only a few attempts to track future health problems by non-profit organizations while we need considerable action in this manner.
It is a known fact that developed countries produced a large amount of pollution as the industry is wider. The authority’s restrictions and curfews during the virus outbreak caused a dramatic improvement in air quality from the same time one year ago and in the past few weeks (Todorović, n.d.). Therefore, the air becomes cleaner above large cities and regions that heavily loaded with factories and power plants. Cities like Milan, Paris, and Madrid that have been hit hardly by the infectious disease showed a huge drop in NO2 as the economy and transportation activities at a bare minimum due to the government restriction to limit the spread of COVID-19. The statistics showed that people are 84% likely to die in areas with higher air pollution than other especially those with chronic diseases.
The expansion of transport networks has a major impact on the global spread of diseases and made the world connected by air, sea, and land easily. There are few downsides of the global expansion of transportation which are infectious diseases, pandemics, vector invasion events and vector-borne pathogen importation (Tatem, Rogers, & Hay, 2006). Within a few months, the COVID-19 extent from Wuhan-China to all parts of the world that shows how easily can a disease sweep the continentals than ever before. Infectious such as the global influenza pandemics, the devastating Anopheles gambiae invasion of Brazil, Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases and recently COVID-19. As the economy grows, human mobility in high-income countries, the volume, and speed of travel are unprecedented. It began with the commercial aviation put people at the risk of new strains of familiar diseases, or from new one; the last five centuries have seen more infectious diseases than ever before (Karlen, 1995).
The history showed that over the past 500 years, the establishment of worldwide transport networks has facilitated pandemics diseases such as Plague, Cholera, Influenza, HIV/AIDS, SARS, Bioterrorism, Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever. The research (Tatem et al., 2006) highlighted that despite the type of transport, the potential of disease emergence and spread can happen very quickly as modern transportation makes the control of infections and quarantine increasingly irrelevant and we must expect more of communicable pandemics. It is suggested to have more predictable information like temporal variations in passengers number and quantifying the relative importance of all types of transports for disease movement.
In the same line, the rapid development and economic growth in central Africa showed the risk of infectious diseases. Despite the positive outcomes from these changes, the region became more vulnerable to future outbreaks (Munster et al., 2018). Relying on the previous outbreak of the Ebola virus, the research mentioned that urban and mobile populations are among the factors which might enable the virus to spread even quicker than before putting the risk of many lives in danger. Researchers predicted that by 2030 Central Africa will use more accessible routes, mining and hydroelectric industries and road constructions which not only affect the ecosystem but also increase the opportunity for new infectious diseases and quicker outbreaks. These are clear signs that rapid and unplanned development can destroy the ecosystem and any demographic-economic changes conspire to cause major outbreaks in both national and international level.
When we talk about the COVID-19 outbreak, we notice how quickly this virus spread globally with a few months of the first case in China. Notwithstanding the previous scenarios with the many outbreaks, we can imply that governments have not prepared properly for such incidents. Bill Gates in his popular talk on TEDx in 2015 discussed that the world is not ready for the next epidemic and that he predicted such an outbreak can kill many if it ignored (Gates, 2015). The questions arise here is that why we don’t pay further attention to the scientific facts that derived from history and experience? Why we need more lives to be taken to establish a stronger foundation to deal with such events? Bill Gates is one of many environmentalists who brought up this topic but yet little efforts have been made. He further talked about how little we invest in healthcare systems while we rapidly grow the industry, and that only the beginning of a series of pandemics if we stay unprepared (TED Connects, 2020).
When we discuss diseases and factors that affect humans, we cannot isolate architecture and the built environment. Over the years, architecture has been one of the most growing elements in the cities and any country development is measured by it, the fact that most countries are proud of the development and the rapid growth of their businesses. Healthy cities are continually creating and enhancing the physical activities and social environments that to expand resources that enable people to support each other and maximizing their potential. WHO listed the aims of a healthy city:
To create a health-supportive environment
To achieve a good quality air
To provide basic sanitation and hygiene needs
To supply access to health care
That being said, it is essential to provide good infrastructure to achieve this level of a healthy city rather than focusing on improving the political, economic and social arenas(“WHO | Healthy Cities,” 2019)
Galway Healthy Cities, which has been a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) European Healthy Cities since 2006, aims to establish an effective program that puts the health and social-economic and political agenda of all agencies. One of their main themes is to strengthen communities by building supportive healthy urban planning and design that includes housing and regeneration and so on(Galway Healthy Cities Projects, 2018). Although the organization’s main aim is Galway City, it purposes an initiative framework that helps designers to promote urban planning and tackling public health priorities.
The research of (Davies & Kelly, 2014) highlighted the importance of healthy cities and the need for multiple instruments to evaluate the strategies, the research also talked about the qualitative non-oriented approaches to evaluate the outcome. It was until the nineteenth century that realizes how important the provision of roads, housing and water supplies and the focus of medical attention in a modern way; the rapid industrial revolution and urbanization that resulted in human factory waster and pollution.
There is some debate about the way meat should be cooked, some research confirmed that properly cooked meat kills harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be poisoned and result in illness and death (Fillion & Henry, 1998). Whilst others argue that fully cooked can minimize the benefits and nutrition’s in food, in fact, it reduces the amount of fibres. There is no confirmed evidence that non-cooked meals can spread the COVID-19 but the WHO urges people to heat their meals before consumption. An article published by CNN talked about the reasons to blame for coronavirus (Walsh & Cotovio, 2020)
Bats have been one of the controversial topics that led to the spread of coronavirus that was originated in Wuhan in China. Experts claim that bats are possible source of the disease yet they are not to blame for the transfer, humans are. The original virus might originate in bats as one of the cases has been seen in Chinese horseshoe bats, however, bat communities often untouched by humans to spread across Earth but we did. The numbers of animals that are shipped in large numbers than never before “said Cunningham to CNN”, it can make the other animals more vulnerable to infection as they too are stressed, as we as humans. It is an indisputable sign that environmental damage can kill humans fast too, and if it ever happened again, it will be for the same reasons.
In a discussion with Dr. Ardalan Sharit from Iran, he explained some of the factors that the statistics are more shocking in Europe and China are religion and people gestures. He said that in Islam, people must perform ablution five times, therefore, washing hands and face regularly is a common habit among Muslims. This point highlighted by the World Health Organization WHO in its latest update as to avoid the COVID-19 infection people must wash their hands regularly. The other thing Ardalan said is that showing public affection or PDA (display public affection) is prohibited in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, this also prevented the disease from spread unlike in the West where display public affection is common. Lastly, Ardalan mentioned that cooking, which was highlighted by WHO, is different in the Middle east. People like to consume their food fully cooked, unlike in other regions that raw food and partially cooked meat are actually one of the routine consumptions in the West and China.
In line with the above, an article published (Mulier & Fourcade, n.d.) talked about the history of kissing and how it was banned by King Henry VI of England in 1439 to battle the plague. Some health authorities urged people to refrain from PDA as it showed by limiting physical contact could help to slow down the march of a disease. The article further explained that in Italy, people started to suggest don’t give a double kiss on the cheek as a greeting or goodbye anymore. In the U.K., virologist John Oxford’s advice people to remain “standoffish” rather than engaging in touchy-feely greetings. However, in the Middle East, greetings by handshakes and kisses on checks are common between the same gender. An article discussed the rituals in the Arab World (Sheta, 2018), actually touching shows more respect to each other but not the same-sex which shows that PDA is also common in this region as in the West but takes with few different traditions. This raises the question again of why COVID-19 why highly spreading in Europe and China?