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3 Design Trends Being Shaped by Social Distancing

Steel framing meets the anticipated changes in design of homes and buildings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


COVID-19 has brought changes to everything, and single-family homes, apartments, and office building design is no exception.

Design experts expect to see lasting impacts on everything from the materials we use to the rooms we prioritize, says an article in the Longview News-Journal, Longview, Texas.

3 design trends to watch for

Here are 3 trends in design evolving from social distancing:

1. Demand for more space — outside

Many people want to live and work near entertainment venues, restaurants, and shops. But, the pandemic has changed that. Designers now believe that more people will want homes and offices with outdoor space. Extra outdoor space gives people room to social distance.

Metreau Apartments, Green Bay, Wis.

An example is the Metreau Apartments in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This multi-family structure features cold-formed steel (CFS) framing, which supports a variety of balcony options and inset terraces.

2. More multifamily structures with patios and green roofs

Between playgrounds closing and parks becoming overcrowded, many apartment and condo dwellers will want not only balconies, but also patios and green roofs to enjoy.

That means we may see more projects like Convent Hill, a 10-story senior facility in Milwaukee that has extensive roof terraces with three inches of soil, wild flowers, ground cover plants and irrigation systems.

Green Roof

Roof terraces at Convent Hill, Milwaukee

The steel-framed structure represents “a new level of sustainable and green technology,” says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Such designs will accommodate people who seek outdoor spaces for much-needed escapes.

3. Designs that place a priority on safety and health

By spending more time indoors and reprioritizing the importance of health, many will look to home and building design to contribute to the safety and health for our families.

Designers expect to see a rise in products like water filtration systems and “materials that improve indoor air quality,” the Longview News-Journal notes.

Key material choices will include “alternatives to wood-framing,” the Longview News-Journal says, for improved ventilation, healthier indoor air quality and living spaces less susceptible to mold.

Steel is inorganic matter and won’t feed mold

To help guard against mold, designers will have the option to choose construction materials, such as CFS framing. Metal studs can combat mold because steel is not organic matter. Mold can’t establish itself and grow on steel.

Time will tell if these trends are accurate. But steel framing — thanks to it’s high-strength, sustainability benefits, and resistance to mold — remains a top choice for building long-lasting structures that meet society’s changing needs.

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