“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”. Simple, but profound words from Winston Churchill. Buildings and space redesign has never been more important than in present times as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. This isn’t a new phenomenon though, redesign of spaces to combat diseases and pandemics trace their steps back to the last century.
When tuberculosis hit in the 1920s and 30s, sanitoriums, which were separate places to treat tuberculosis were built on the philosophy that sunlight and fresh air quicken recovery. Design became more deliberate with creation of lots of windows, balconies, bright white paint and flat surfaces that wouldn’t collect dust. This concept eventually crossed over into mainstream residential design. So, it’s not unusual that disease spur redesign of residential spaces.
I bet you are already fatigued with the literature and preventive protocols in dealing with the deadly disease. Fret not my dear friend, I am here to provide you with simple DIY tips to COVID proof your home to protect you and your loved ones. Come let’s battle together and eventually win this war against COVID and other pandemics. Shall we begin?
Turn to Brass and Copper Door Knobs
Doorknobs have been noted as one the key elements of transmission of infectious diseases. There are interesting innovations like hands-free doors as well as step and pull doors that have features that allow you to use your foot to open and close a door hence avoiding use of hands.
However, until these new technology become available to all, we can turn to brass or copper doorknobs. Brass kills bacteria more effectively than stainless steel, according to research. Brass and copper are excellent metals for the home because both are naturally antimicrobial and corrosion-resistant.
In addition to door knobs, you can also utilize quart for countertops and other platforms within your home. Quartz is one of the hardest non-precious stones on earth, therefore countertops made from quartz are hard, stain and scratch-resistant, and more importantly the most sanitary.
Integrate Biophilic Design
No, don’t let the word scare you, biophilia is actually friendlier than she sounds. The importance of peace of mind, devoid of stress, cannot be over emphasized in its role in restoring health and therapeutic benefits.
Biophilia which simply means meaning love of nature focuses on human’s innate attraction to nature and natural processes. According to Terrapin Bright Green, It helps explain why crackling fires and crashing waves captivate us; why a garden view can enhance our creativity; why shadows and heights instill fascination and fear; and why animal companionship and strolling through a park have restorative, healing effects. Biophilia may also help explain why some urban parks and buildings are preferred over others.
Knowing this, architects and designers have incorporated this idea into building design, applying these principles to create a human centred approach to spaces that we live and work in today, with numerous benefits to our health and well-being. Of course these go to boost our immune system in the fight against COVID-19.
So how do we go biophilic with design? Stephen R. Kellert puts it succinctly The first basic dimension of biophilic design is an organic or naturalistic dimension, defined as shapes and forms in the built environment that directly, indirectly, or symbolically reflect the inherent human affinity for nature.
Direct experience refers to relatively unstructured contact with self-sustaining features of the natural environment such as daylight, plants, animals, natural habitats, and ecosystems. Indirect experience involves contact with nature that requires ongoing human input to survive such as a potted plant, water fountain, or aquarium. Symbolic or vicarious experience involves no actual contact with real nature, but rather the representation of the natural world through image, picture, video, metaphor, and more.
There we have it folks, a few DIY tips at home to help fight against the pandemic. You know how the saying goes, the fight starts at your front door, the power is how your shape your home. If he were here, it’s something Churchill will be nod to. Now let’s get busy!
>>>The writer is the Executive director of Yecham Property Consult & Founder of Ghana Green Building Summit. Email: [email protected] Linkedin: Cyril Nii Ayitey Tetteh