When looking for a way to design or renovate a childcare centre with respect to health considerations like COVID-19, you need to consider ventilation and architecture.
Different viruses have completely different capabilities from how well it does outside your body, how long it lasts in air, on different surfaces, and in your system.
The virus responsible for this century’s pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, has put a spotlight on how limitless their capacity is. Melbourne alone, spent nearly a full year in lockdown, we now all know the shorthand for working from home (WFH for all those coming out from under their rock), and we’re having to do things that would seem absurd at the start of 2019.
- Keeping 1.5m from others in public (although, that would have been a nice norm at store check-outs decades ago)
- Checking in at every door in existence
- Practicing good hand hygiene (a shockingly new concept for some)
- Wearing masks, always – not just when you’re Batman
- Ensuring adequate indoor ventilation
This once in a lifetime event has altered the way we perceive the world and each other. Changed our language and behaviour. And made us rethink the environment we inhabit and what it might mean for our own wellbeing. Beyond just adding light and pot plants to make it feel ‘homey’.
Playcentres are notable germy hotspots
Childcare centres are infamous for spreading infections and illness. Unfortunately, many of the public health interventions we use conflict with a lot of the core values that go into considering the design of a space for young developing minds. Even though they may sometimes be in conflict, that doesn’t mean you need to completely sacrifice one in lieu of the other.
Creative thinking is key to finding the solution to this problem. When looking for a way to design or renovate a childcare centre with respect to health considerations like COVID-19, you need to consider ventilation. Architects need to look beyond the ‘looks’ and regulations of design and put a higher priority on what the latest research tells us about how our environment affects us. In the full-length article on our website, we explore the problem of ventilation in childcare centres with respect to COVID-19 and review the possible answers to this problem.
This article was created with help from Wes Malek from ECM Group.
To speak to architects who think creatively when it comes to built environments for developing children, click the links below.