AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Chair Recommends Quarantine Marketing Strategy

April 15, 2020

AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Chair Recommends Quarantine Marketing Strategy

With many New Jersey residents now in their 4th or 5th week staying at home, it is perfect timing for AIA New Jersey members to reach out to their clients and community and make a connection. This is a rare time when our clients may have as much availability to look at and think about their houses as Architects do when we visit our clients at home. While your neighbors may be reluctant to start a dialogue about a new project just now, it is not too soon to remind them who you are, where you are and what you can do for them. One great way to get them thinking about their next residential project is to get them looking at and thinking about their house. AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Chair, William J Martin, AIA, offers the following article that he issued to his community as a suggestion of how to make this happen for you! 

 

The top 5 things to do in your home during the pandemic self-isolation, from your neighborhood architect

 

By William J. Martin, AIA

 

As architects we spend many years studying space and comfort. We want people to be comfortable and healthy in the spaces we create. The visual beauty of the spaces that people use is only a part of what we consider in the art of creating a building.

 

Architects are always concerned about how people will feel while using the buildings and homes that are created for our clients.

 

Here are the top 5 things you can do in and around your home to learn how an architect thinks and feels about your interior space.  You may learn something about yourself and how you feel about the spaces that you live and work within.

 

 

  1. Go around your home and count all the doorknobs. This is also a great activity for kids. The doorknobs or door handles represent the symbolic opening of one space into another. While this might sound mundane, it does affect your feelings as you move from one room into another. In particular, moving from a tight space into a larger room can affect mood. The doorknobs are also, for many people, the only place where they come in direct contact with the architecture. Most people don’t go around touching the walls and ceilings in rooms. Once you have counted them all, you will be much more aware of what you touch. Now go back and clean all the doorknobs with wipes and cleaner.  Architects love clean, interesting and easily graspable door handles.

 

  1. Open the window shades and then open the windows slightly and let in some daylight and fresh air. Exposure to daylight can have a significant effect on your feelings of mental well-being. Twenty to thirty minutes of exposure to daylight each day helps to improve attitude and, of course, limited sunlight is healthy for us all.  You don’t have to stand by the window.  Just being able to see outside in the daylight toward trees and other human activity has what architects call a biophilic effect. It momentarily connects you to the world outside.  Introducing some fresh air to the interior helps to diffuse allergens and irritants that can build up in unventilated areas.  Close the windows after 30 minutes to save energy.  There is a balance between fresh air and energy savings that architects analyze when buildings are designed for climate change sustainability and interior comfort.

 

  1. If you can, reposition some of the furniture in your spaces. Kids also love this idea. This will create a new layout and visually change how you use the space.  Even if you move the furniture back later, it will create visual interest and make your spaces feel “new” while you stay safe in your home.  Architects usually consider various potential furniture arrangements for all interior spaces.  This allows for flexibility in how occupants can use the space.  There is more than one way to arrange any room so have some fun and move some things around. You may discover a better arrangement that you had not previously considered.

 

  1. Construct a couch cushion, pillow and blanket shelter. This is just as much fun for adults as it is for the kids.  It creates a further protected area within your home that can encourage feelings of safety while you stay inside your home. Plan out your shelter shape and size.  Then obtain the required materials from around the house.  The couch, chair, blankets, bed sheets, curtains, pillows are all good sources of building materials. Use your imagination. A curtain rod may serve as a tent pole. A table may provide a roof. A bar cart or shelves can be the shelter “kitchen”.  Using imagination, various materials and structural support is what architects do every day to create safe buildings.  Be careful not to damage your furniture or attach to anything that could fall on you.

 

  1. Open a can of soup and let it simmer on the stove. This one is not for the kids without supervision.  You could also put a bowl in the microwave and heat it on the low setting.  Allow the aroma of the soup to waft into the adjoining rooms. Pleasant aromas can foster feelings of comfort and safety for many people. Our sense of smell is the most primordial of our five human senses.  Even if you don’t eat the soup right away, you can enjoy the aroma and remember back to a time when life was normal.  Comfort, health and pleasant sensations are all considered by architects when designing interior and exterior spaces.

 

 

There are many more things that you can do inside your home however these are my top 5 from the perspective of how architects design the spaces and places where you live and work. Do these things and you may learn something about yourself.  Your kids may be more aware of how their surroundings can be shaped by their own creativity.

 

Please stay safe and healthy as we all get through a difficult time in human history.  In the time being, try to enjoy and thrive during your self-isolation. I sincerely hope you enjoy and maybe learn from these 5 activities.

 

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay away for now.

 

We are all in this together.

 

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