Architects Foresee Changes Coming to Hospitality Construction

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Robison Wells
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Forbes recently interviewed several major architecture firms to discover what these men and women envision for the future of the post-COVID-19 hospitality industry. Answers to the question varied, but all had a few things in common: more social distance, less contact, and more overt cleanliness. While it might not seem shocking, the specifics of their visions are interesting.

Clay Markham, Senior Vice President at CallisonRTKL, speculates an entirely contactless check-in system. Guests will enter their credit card numbers and information into mobile apps, never touching the front desk. He also expects a lack of unnecessary fabric—particularly bedspreads and carpet—to simplify cleaning.

More than one architect, including Robyn Novak, Vice President at NELSON Worldwide, and JoyceLynn Lagula, Associate AIA, Design Principal, at Wilson Associates, said that emphasis would increase on in-room office space. The setup will change from the current small desk and chair in the corner to office suites outfitted with sufficient lighting and backgrounds for professional Zoom calls. Novak and Lagula also foresee rentable hotel office space replacing living space to fill vacancies.

Griz Dwight, Founder & Principal from GrizForm Design Architects emphasizes widespread open floor plans, high ceilings, outdoor areas, and walls that can be opened for everything from restaurants to lounge spaces.

Architectural firms discussed many other ideas in the Forbes interview series. But a few things remained consistent. Spread people out. Simplify cleaning. Use space as efficiently as possible. Based on Forbes information, architects like Dwight, Markham, Novak and Lagula already have plans well underway to convert existing hotels into their new visions.

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