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The urban rhetoric_Spatial Chronicles

Designing the “new normal”: a post pandemic response Pritika Raja Pritika Raja is an interior designer with a background in architecture. She completed her B.A (Hons) from Heriot-Watt University and worked as a residential interior architect in Dubai. She then moved to Singapore, where she worked as a multidisciplinary designer - with architecture, interiors and product design. Pritika’s practice embodies the eclectic influences gained from her diverse experiences and exposure to international clients. In her spare time, she works on illustrations, paintings and other art related projects.

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s we commence 2021, it seems apparent that COVID-19 is not a passing storm and will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. There is no question that COVID-19 has taken a devastating toll on millions of people across the globe. This year has reminded us of our mortality and vulnerability as human beings. Moreover, people all over the world experienced their freedom being curtailed during the global lockdowns. That experience has left us yearning to bring more meaning into our lives despite the restrictions this year. Needless to say, it persuaded people to change their ways of living and opt for a lifestyle that is more independent and selfserving in order to adapt to the restrictive nature of the pandemic. Having said that, it seems that we have landed ourselves in an ironic situation where we have evolved into a more self-sufficient yet interdependent society, adapted to remodel our future. This has been observed in the past year when we look at the collective strategies put in place for containment plans, new space layouts, reformed healthcare,

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vaccines, controlled human interactions, optimized resource utility, and even questionable societal and political norms. Our preconceived notions of life do not apply any longer as we approach a “new normal” with reservations and questions of the unknown. The language of this “new normal” is casually used to settle uncertainties brought by this global pandemic. However, as our society and economy revives, we have been constantly perpetuated with this rhetoric as we imagine settling into this life, appropriating our present as the standard and welcoming a new world order. Keeping these conditions in mind, we understand that there is a shift in priorities as the world wonders about the post-pandemic way of life. This situation has prompted us, as architects, to think about the role of design in facilitating functional and safe solutions that would allow humans to continue living and thriving without limitations if viruses such as COVID-19 become endemic. During the periods of lockdown and solitude, a

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