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Architect Deborah Saunt on Rethink: 2025

The first in a series, Hugh Pearman video interviews the DSDHA director about how the coronavirus pandemic will change life and architecture - as the RIBA calls for entries to its ideas competition Rethink: 2025 for a chance to win £5,000

What will the coronavirus pandemic change in our lives? How will cities adapt? Will everyone want to move to the countryside or low-density suburbs with sprawling private gardens?

Ahead of the RIBA Rethink: 2025 ideas competition deadline on 12 June, RIBAJ editor Hugh Pearman catches DSDHA founding director Deborah Saunt on video call as she pops into her Vauxhall office to water the plants and check everything is OK.

Teacher and co-founder of the London School of Architecture, Saunt is reflective that the office is particularly quiet as all of the other 45-50 people usually there are still working from home. In the interview she tells us how she anticipates the next five years will bring enormous change to the way we live and the work architects are commissioned to do.

Technology is at the top of her agenda – how new ways of using technology will programme space and will lead to much more timetabled lives, for both continuity and fluidity of function. Apps like AirBnB have already, after all, turned empty domestic space into hotel bedrooms of sorts… Mobility will become a service, so will entering buildings and outdoor space. Get ready to book every aspect of your day through your phone. There certainly won’t be business as usual – economic, public and ethical values have already shifted and will do so more.

Where will we see the most transformation? Our homes – planners Saunt is speaking to at the moment are saying developers will no longer be able to offset that outdoor amenity for anything else. There’ll be more focus on the home workspace and even home as Insta/Zoom broadcasting studio as the public come into our homes through technology too.

Deborah Saunt is director at DSDHA and co-founder of the London School of Architecture.

Submit your ideas for Rethink: 2025 - Design for life after Covid-19 for a chance to win £5,000 by 14h00 on 12 June 2020.


 

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