The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the world in ways that are still being discovered. The public health protocols are predicted to have a lasting impact on Commercial Architectural Design for the near future and will likely continue beyond this year. Architecture fundamentals clearly dictate that design must safeguard public health and safety, and COVID-19 has changed what staying protected in public spaces looks like. This year’s design trends for hotels have safety top of mind and are adopting some of the most cutting-edge technologies to enhance guest experiences and promote wellbeing.

Architected Social Distancing

Design techniques have shifted tremendously when it comes to architecting lobby areas for hotels. Guests will find more entry points, wider aisles, and single-direction walkways that work to manage traffic. The semi-permanent plexiglass solutions that have become prominent in 2020 due to the sudden health crisis will be replaced with more space and intentionally designed barriers versus standing directly in front of a slice of rough plexi.

Common Area Furniture Will Be Replaced With Plantlife

Gone are the days of wool and leather upholstered lobby furniture. Synthetic materials that are also used in the healthcare sector will now be more widely employed, at least for 2021. Sparse functional seating areas that promote moving through the space versus getting comfortable will also be a new trend in this year’s aesthetic. Instead of cozy couches, guests will experience natural indoor greenery and flora that brighten up spaces. They help to navigate traffic, and create separation.

Circulation and Air Sterilization

Air filtration and circulation are some of the most crucial elements of 2021 architecture. They are essential in preventing the spread of airborne viruses. Increasing airflow within large buildings requires installing more heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) zones. It also requires controlling humidity levels and installing numerous high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters throughout hotels. Air sterilization techniques such as UVC lighting or bipolar ionization are another layer of protection that can be added if natural ventilation is limited.

Self-Check-In Kiosks

Technology will continue to play a critical role in the new normal. Self-check-in systems and digital key cards are just part of a full-wave of touchless tech leading the hospitality sector’s scientific revolution. Automatic doors or foot-operated door openers, along with sensor-operated bathroom fixtures, are all more than a nice-to-have in the continued fight to wipe out COVID-19.

Massive Evolution of The Single Hotel Room

Business centers and workout rooms in hotels have likely been closed or severely restricted throughout the pandemic. As hotels slowly reopen, common areas will still be regulated for quite some time. Hotel rooms will need to serve a broader set of needs until the world fully reopens. During this period, architecting a multi-use space that can meet travelers’ needs is vital. Dependable workspaces, top-notch wifi, kitchenettes, and even in-room workout options will be part of the next generation hotel salons. They will lead the transition back to normality. At the same time, there should be less interaction with hotel staff. Also, well-designed easy access towel and toiletry grab stations are becoming more familiar in the hospitality industry in 2021.

Self-Cleaning Surface Materials

High-traffic areas in hotels can be the most challenging spaces to keep sanitized. In addition, self-cleaning surfaces are making consistent sanitation attainable in the hospitality industry. There are many different materials that make a surface self-cleaning. The core functionality of these types of exteriors is the ability to move debris and bacteria from itself through a Superhydrophobic Superhydrophilic, or Photocatalytic process. Some airports utilize self-cleaning technology that uses mat skins made with nano-crystals that kill germs when they react to light. This same technology is making its way to the hotel industry. Therefore, new environmentally cleaning agents are taking sanitation standards to a new level.

The New Era of Architecture

A new way of traveling is currently necessary. Therefore, well-architected hotels that follow CDC guidelines merged with architectural marvel will delight travelers and make them feel comfortable and safe simultaneously. New concepts such as outdoor meeting spaces in climate permitting areas are quickly becoming the new go-to. These exciting new meeting areas have such facilities as transit-ready heating, cooling, whiteboards, and mobile furniture solutions.

The pandemic-induced shift in the public health landscape has shaken up the entire world. However, this challenging time has opened the door to a new era of architecture (Commercial Architectural Design) that is rising to meet the needs of a new day. Hiring architectural consultants to help plot out fresh ideas for hotels is critical in creating safe and efficient spaces to keep guests safe. A qualified team will be able to successfully graft safety and elegance that will maximize guest’s experience.

Abigail Baker is a writer with Happy Writers, Co.