Last week, news channel Bloomberg aired a video of Norman Foster talking about building sustainability. In the short clip, the famous Architect – whose firm, Foster + Partners, designed the media enterprise’s £1.3bn European HQ in 2017 – spoke of modern-day office design. He reported that our existing office stock is antiquated and revealed that the younger generation is far more knowledgeable than previous cohorts, and their expectations for the built environment are, therefore, more taxing. The British designer made it apparent that recycling workplace buildings, rather than wrecking structures and substituting them with new-build constructions, is indisputably a viable option and encouraged repurposing to further meet sustainability goals.
Unquestionably, Norman Foster got to the heart of the matter – we are all more switched on to the rewards of working and living in a flourishing, green environment, regardless of being grounded in rural, semi-rural or concrete jungle territory. And, with this awareness, there is a heightened sense of demand. The truth is, our level of expectancy has been renewed, and what was once ‘a nice to have’ has progressed into a necessity. Take, for example, gardens and access to outdoor spaces. City dwellers, such as those in London, sacrificed these modest sanctuaries for easy commutes and lively urban lifestyles. However, when COVID-19 stripped everything down to the bone, these ‘luxuries’ became trivial to most Londoners. Remarkably, Foster also spoke of these ‘trends’, clarifying how [wellbeing, biophilia and sustainability] were all existent before the pandemic – lockdowns and restrictions merely magnified them.
In this month’s issue, we investigate another component of the built environment that’s long been on the radar and has been augmented following the pandemic – touch-free technologies. On page 28, Robbie Ferguson, National Sales Manager at Zip Water UK, gives us a swift glimpse into the imminent future of office design and looks at how workplaces have acted hastily to adopt touchless tech in a bid to construct a safe working environment.
ON THE COVER:
Designed by RVAD Studio, Tagh Behesht explores the bond between city bazaars and the foundations of Iran’s economy.