In the wake of the pandemic, many care and residential homes for the elderly will no doubt close, and Brexit will deplete numbers of social care staff. In student residences and hostels kitchens and communal spaces will become obsolete, and the daily commute to an office will largely disappear as home working becomes normalised.
As we are essentially social creatures, living in individual homes may become synonymous with isolation. Architects need to design flexible dwellings for co-housing and inter-generational living with spaces for home offices, guests and carers. Comfort, hygiene and assistive technology will be key, and the buildings of the future will need to be adaptable for long-term resilience.
Architect Sarah Wigglesworth speaks to Design Curial about her vision for communal living, drawing on past proposals for a flexible homestead for regeneration project in Newcastle, self-build extensions for Letchworth Garden City and the Simple Smart House that can be re-configured as families and communities expand and contract.