The Young People’s Lab 2020, jointly organised by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM), Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) and Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) at the tail end of last year witnessed four speakers from the respectective organisations – namely Ar. Husam Abdulfatah Haron, LAr. Phua Chin Eng, Ar. Lam Shen Fei and TPr Dr. Chee Ping Ngan sharing on “The Impact Of Covid-19 on Design in Malaysia” pertaining to the local design industry.
Ar. Lam Shen Fei of Fei Architect, in sharing his insights into designing during this pandemic shares that the industry must firstly, “fundamentally understand the stages of the pandemic leading to different interventions”.
Secondly, types of Covid-19 transmission must be considered while thirdly, the behavioural design due to the various types of transmission must be analysed.
And fourthly, the challenges adapting to the lifestyle during the pandemic is another criterion to be analysed.
In a nutshell, the sharing sessions can be broken down into various aspects such as the study of a typical journey to work, leading to the study of spaces considering four different scales ranging from indoor, communal/ outdoor, public space and masterplanning details.
References were also made as to the aftermath of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in relation to the design scene in Hong Kong. The conclusion lies in the in-between spaces “being redefined and reused” rather than with “new spaces” being designed.
Furthermore, in the early stages of pandemic, data collection and fast-paced construction are crucial he asserts in allowing for quick responce to “reduce the spread of infection and allow a suitable venue for containment and recovery”.
In the middle stage he affirms, consistent and effective signages in public spaces and healthy working environment at home are key to ensuring a smoother transition to the post pandemic situation at hand.
Lam speculated that post pandemic, design will continue to help play a supporting role in eradicating the virus with clever social distancing elements put in place. However, he adds that more importantly, design can be utilised to help create more healthy and conducive as well as hygienic living environments.
The sharing session also explored how developers can further utilise the power of design while looking into considerations for a healthier environment to fit the new trend of Work From Home (WFH) lifestyles in “The New Normal”. Thus, it follows that the designs of study and work areas at home, healthy social spaces, closed community, parks and green spaces are seen as effective new inclusions for future projects.
Designers are now even keener on the advocating the importance of healthier design elements via the utilisation of ventilation, open air, circulation and hyginic interactions.
The Governement meanwhile is playing its part in implementing the enforcement of effective Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in place.
In addition to this, manufacturers too can play a key role by issuing healthy related products and fast-paced construction method.
Due to the rapidly changing scientific, legal, and regulatory landscape related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the author’s opinion are strictly his own.