In recent months, there has been plenty of talk about the importance of permeable architecture for the so-called “new reality” where we currently find ourselves. Covid-19 definitely came to change everything, even architecture and the way in which specialists and users approach it.
But you may be wondering, what is permeable architecture? Basically, this is a simply relational architecture style, which means that it establishes connections between what’s private and what’s public; between the interior space and its environment, in order to generate a link between the two realities.
Certainly, the definition sounds so philosophical and profound that it’s difficult to think about it in tangible terms. However, permeable architecture is very concrete, and when it comes to urban areas (where it has been quite successful), for example, it has used both physical, visual, sound, and sensory elements to create unique buildings that are distinguished by the penetrability of light, pedestrian flow and the unification, confluence, and flexibility of its spaces.
Architecture in pandemic times
The lockdown and lack of contact with the outside world has been one of the evils that has affected us the most during this pandemic. Obviously, you can be in touch with family and friends through technology, but no film, photo or video replaces pure air and the heat of the sun.
This is where permeable architecture works miracles. Thanks to its vision based on building to integrate environments, this type of architecture resorts to interesting solutions ranging from natural light and air inputs through windows, to special structures that allow a connection with weather conditions without being exposed to them.
Most architects know that today’s homes are not designed to facilitate their adaptation to human transformation processes. Anchored to the past, our homes are not prepared for new lifestyles or the special circumstances that may arise. The claustrophobia generated by Covid-19 is proof of that.
According to the specialists, it’s precisely the fluidity, continuity, porosity, and accessibility of permeable architecture and its forms, which has help it gain supporters. In fact, the concept that, as we mentioned, has already been successfully tested in urban constructions, seems to be “permeating” the field of single-family and multifamily housing with other benefits.
As a result, the concept of permeability in architecture is becoming an ally of other criteria, such as flexibility and sustainability. All for the sake of creating homes and buildings designed not only to accompany its users throughout personal and/or work-related changes, but also to be ecologically mindful of the environment.
Another fully integrable notion of permeable architecture is, in the opinion of some architectural studios, the modular concept. Thanks to the flexibility that this system of construction entails and the infinite possibilities it offers, both will be able to adhere to the principle of shared benefit, offering the development of structures that agree more with the new times.
In this sense, many architects say that we shouldn’t be surprised if from now on the concept of permeable housing becomes an everyday practice. We are talking about a type of house or apartment whose main feature is to allow its users to vary or modify both their relationship with their interior space and the outside environment, as well as adapting to their needs.
As you can see, architecture, like any other discipline at the service of humanity, continues to evolve along with the needs of those who’ll use it as living space, in close alliance with the technologies that favor its integration into the surrounding reality.