July 14, 2020

The challenge of adapting confinement-proof floors



The coronavirus has already shown its first signs of weakness in Spain, but the threat of a regrowth lurks and puts on the table the challenge of adapting the homes to be confined with more outdoor spaces, multipurpose and efficient, according to architects consulted by EFE. .

With social life enclosed within walls, the flaws in the floors “thought only for a few hours a day” have come to light showing that “our houses are not ready for the 21st century”.

This is noted by Enrique Rovira, architect and professor at the International University of Catalonia (UIC) specialized in accessibility, one of the pending subjects for some homes for years and that the pandemic could now help to solve.

How? Accelerating a change in regulations that, in turn, would respond to other deficiencies in floors, such as poor ventilation and lighting, insufficient insulation or the lack of exterior spaces.

Basically, the problem lies in the absence of a “maintenance culture” of the farms, according to the dean of the College of Architects of Catalonia (COAC), Assumpció Puig, who believes that the rehabilitation could contribute to comfort and efficiency energy.

In this sense, the director of the passive construction company Arquima, José Antonio González, proposes to install filters to improve air quality and carry out tests to check the airtightness of the homes in order to ensure a “minimal” carbon footprint.

Furthermore, experts agree that, in the short term, you can gain in domestic well-being through interior design, redistributing furniture to create “flexible” spaces that can be transformed.

“More furniture systems will be used that allow the bed to be raised during the day and the room to become an office, for example, or for the living room to have different configurations,” says Xavier Vilalta, architect and director of Vilalta Studio.

The expert explains that the confinement will force “reconquest” the interiors of homes by building more balconies, terraces and galleries where “connect” with the outside, as well as more community spaces, such as urban gardens and roofs with children’s areas.

“People are going to want the flats to meet these conditions to be able to spend more time without leaving,” predicts Rovira, agreeing with Puig that these new demands will be reflected in the demand of the real estate market.

Both predict that outdoor spaces will go up after the quarantine, which will cause “some homes to drop in price and others to rise, although the market always ends up regulating itself,” concludes the COAC dean.

Vilalta subscribes that requests for flats without a balcony will drop, something that his architecture studio has been able to verify after receiving “many inquiries from people who want a house, semi-detached or individual, or a duplex apartment”.

In fact, data from the real estate portal Fotocasa corroborate this growing interest during confinement, with a 46% increase in searches for rustic properties, followed by chalets (36%) and semi-detached houses (24%).

“These people, as little as they can, will take the step of looking for another type of housing that perhaps is not in the center of the city, but on the outskirts,” suggests Vilalta, recalling how rural areas have been “the great insiders “during quarantine.

At this point, the architect Enrique Rovira disagrees and thinks that in the case of cities like Barcelona this situation will not occur because they are “a brand, with restoration, tourism and culture”.

The dean of the COAC, Assumpció Puig, acknowledges that “it could be” that the pandemic could increase interest in life outside the big cities, although “it would not be the most convenient” because “living scattered can have a high cost”.

“The density does not have to be bad if near our home we can access all the necessary services and enjoy green spaces,” says Puig, aware of the need to “rethink” the city model to achieve this goal.

Pilar Tomás

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