For the duration of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, AN will use this column to keep our readers up to date on how the pandemic is affecting architecture and related industries. This weekly article is meant to digest the latest major developments in the crisis and synthesize broader patterns and what they could mean for architecture in the United States. The previous edition of the column can be found here.
Summer is officially here and with it comes The Architect’s Newspaper’s June/July digital issue. Several of the articles in that issue looked at the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on architecture, including one by Cyrus Peñarroyo, a partner in the Ann Arbor, Michigan–based design practice EXTENTS. Peñarroyo wrote about how the shift to remote working and video-conferencing has excluded many communities that lack reliable high-speed internet access. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many inequalities in the United States, one of which is in the country’s digital infrastructure. Peñarroyo’s research, which focuses on Detroit, looks into how community subsidized mesh networks could support more equitable models of urban development where many more people could have access to the internet connections that are increasingly critical to many forms of work, communion, and entertainment.
Also in the June/July issue, AN’s executive editor Samuel Medina interviews architecture writers Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley about their forthcoming book on the architecture of quarantines from centuries past. The book, tentatively titled Until Proven Safe, will take readers around the world, making stops at a plant quarantine on the Arizona-California border, the international cocoa quarantine center in England, and many other places. Although the pair started the book long before COVID-19 was a household term, the question of how to design for quarantines is extremely timely and promises to be relevant in the future as the current pandemic lingers and unknown new diseases arise.
Outside of the June/July issue, AN is launching a new discussion series about what architecture will look like after the current pandemic. Mario Carpo, architectural historian and professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and Phil Bernstein, technologist and associate dean of the Yale School of Architecture, will start the series next week, so keep an eye out for that first article.