Top 5 houses designed for pandemic situations


  • Design
  • Saturday, 23 May 2020

Atidesa features a food barn which supports permaculture principles and the concept of circular economy. Photo: Vinsensius Gilrandy Santoso

Due to Covid-19, the world has witnessed a record number of its population staying indoors in their homes for the longest time.

People have had to use the same space for work, exercise and leisure, and in certain cases, a room utilised to isolate a family member for quarantine purposes.

In light of the pandemic, the Arcasia Committee on Young Architects (ACYA) and the Yogyakarta Young Architect Forum (YYAF) held a design challenge recently.

The theme of the ACYA-YYAF #WFH Workshop 2020, the first design competition of its kind, was to "Design a dream house that responds to pandemic situations”.

The competition was open to architects under the age of 41 from the 21 Arcasia (Architects Regional Council Asia) countries, as well as students.

In total, there were 186 entries received from 10 countries, with 109 from architects while 77 came from students. The countries involved were India, Bangladesh, China, Syria, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Out of those submissions, five projects were singled out for their thoughtful and innovative designs

“The judges selected the top five designs after deliberating over the concept the participant used in dealing with the pandemic in relation to a healthy lifestyle, self-sufficient housing and happy living.

“The final five portray different thematics in terms of being flexible, futuristic planning, engaging with life conditions, providing balanced spaces and, not forgetting, beauty, ” said Ridha Razak, chairman of ACYA 2019-2020, in an email interview.

Ridha hopes that all the designs submitted will inspire people around the world with new ideas to improve their homes to be resilient in dealing with potential future pandemics.

“Work, live and play will never be the same again as the public is exposed to the idea of remote working and minimal contact, by using digital technology to move things around, ” he said.

Here are the top five winners:The Spacey Flex House features wall panels with two-way hinges, allowing for unlimited configuration of spaces depending on the need and number of occupants in the house. Photo: Veronica TanThe Spacey Flex House features wall panels with two-way hinges, allowing for unlimited configuration of spaces depending on the need and number of occupants in the house. Photo: Veronica Tan

1st place: Atidesa, by Vinsensius Gilrandy Santoso and Sri Rahma Apriliyanthi, Indonesia

This house is designed to accommodate a young couple in a post-pandemic situation while interacting with their surroundings. It features a food barn which supports permaculture principles and the concept of circular economy. This ensures the couple's economic stability and fulfills their daily food necessities, as well as the neighbourhood’s.

The name Atidesa is derived from the Indonesian phrase hati desa which literally means "the heart of the village". Hence the design encourages the neighbourhood’s cooperation to look after the food barn, which includes urban farming facilities and livestock farms.

To ensure the couple's mental and physical wellbeing, there is a garden in the house which also filters rainwater before being processed for barn use or sent to the city drainage.

Judges chose this project because they said the architects thought about every aspect of the design challenge theme.

“Many participants designed enclosed houses to protect people during the pandemic situation, but this house was actually a fun and happy house which every generation could enjoy living in, ” judges said.

2nd place: Spacey Flex House, by Veronica Tan Yen Ching, Malaysia

Designed for a bachelor but adaptable for a multi-family home, the Spacey Flex House features wall panels with two-way hinges, allowing unlimited configuration of spaces depending on the need and number of occupants in the house. The panels also serve as doors within the house and openings to green areas, as well as facilitate natural ventilation.

Its flexible wall panel system also collects rainwater from the covered roof which drains into the wall cavity of the building for insulation and utility purposes.

The design also comes with a laundry area at the entrance for disinfecting exercises and disposal of protecting clothing, and to serve as a temporary storage place for delivery items.

Bedrooms are located on one side of the building, with a separate exit, in case the house has sick inhabitants.

A smart home system also allows guest registration and coordination of the home environment, taking into account the occupants’ biological diet and health requirements. Permaculture activities can also be conducted via a private- or communal-owned land beside the property for self-sustainable food growth. That area can also be converted into a seasonal sports activity area.The House Humane design includes farming features, renewable sources of energy and the use of automation to promote touchless situations. Photo: Atelier Adish PatniThe House Humane design includes farming features, renewable sources of energy and the use of automation to promote touchless situations. Photo: Atelier Adish Patni

3rd place: House Humane, by Adish Patni, India

This design combines a balanced use of technology and a new sense of aesthetics using recycled materials. It can be separated into three zones and is designed for a young couple.

Independent blocks within the house allow additions and adaptations according to rising needs.

The planning is done in such a way that it ensures hygiene, with clear zones of common and private areas in the layout. The design also includes farming features, renewable sources of energy and the use of automation to promote touchless situations.The Wanderlust aims to share the message that people can shape a new lifestyle to overcome their travel desires while staying at home. Photo: Rien TanThe Wanderlust aims to share the message that people can shape a new lifestyle to overcome their travel desires while staying at home. Photo: Rien Tan

4th place: Wanderlust, by Rien Tan Kwon Chong and Howie Lam Chee Hau, Malaysia

The Wanderlust is a zero-lot bungalow design (where the building occupies most of the land it sits on) that caters to a young couple or small family within a 298sq m site. It aims to share the message that people can shape a new lifestyle to overcome their travel desires while staying at home.

The house adopts the social distancing rule by dividing the building into two rectangular cabins – Isolation and Living. Both cabins are accessible from different entrances to protect the health and safety of the occupants. On top of these cabins,"sleeping" spaces are stacked at different levels. The interiors are also designed with various nature-inspired settings to create different "travel" experiences.

The Isolation cabin is a convertible space which has a small pantry, washrooms, living area, office and bedroom.

The Living cabin features the kitchen, dining and yard areas. A disinfecting spot is provided at the front for occupants to use before entering the relevant cabins. The sunken Living area offers a cave-living experience, whereas the dining area that connects the kitchen and garden provides a farm-to-table experience.Situated on a sloping hillside, the Terrasafe House is inspired by the terraces carved into the mountains by the Ifugao tribe in the Philippines. Photo: Outbox ArchitectsSituated on a sloping hillside, the Terrasafe House is inspired by the terraces carved into the mountains by the Ifugao tribe in the Philippines. Photo: Outbox Architects

5th place: Terrasafe House, by Jerica Rivera and Almer Viado, the Philippines

Situated on a sloping hillside, the Terrasafe House is inspired by the terraces carved into the mountains by the Ifugao tribe in the Philippines. It has three levels which follow the contours of the site. The middle block is where the main activities are held, connecting the public and private areas. Terraces at different levels are also factored into the design.

Overall, it features a closed floor plan with a disinfecting entryway system, an isolation room with its own facilities, washing stations, and integrated air and water filtration systems. A smart home technology serves as a preventive measure against disease transmissions while renewable energy features, urban farming and aquaculture offer self-sufficiency in terms of power, energy and food.

To address an isolation situation, spaces that aid as coping mechanisms – such as a work from home area, theatre room and games room with a slide that descends to the playground – and open terraces on all levels encourage flexible social activities and a strong bond with the outdoors.

The main facade feature is the windows which are made of copper screen panels, as copper has antimicrobial properties. According to the architects, research also shows that copper can degrade the presence of viruses on its surface.

To view the full list of works, visit the ACYA gallery.

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