Architects at a New Juncture in Conceptualizing Designs for Post-Pandemic Homes

The recent months and the developments that transpired due to COVID-19 have brought modern architects to a new juncture in conceptualizing post-pandemic ideas. The novel coronavirus has given them an actual example of how modernist architecture evolved as a consequence of previous disease outbreaks,

Where previously doing away with too many rooms was a good way of revolutionizing home designs, the possibility that an ordinary flu could turnout to be be another disease outbreak, calls for having additional rooms in which to self-isolate.

The Need to Redesign Homes Being the Central Area of Activity During and After the Pandemic

While a home is supposed to be a safe haven during the quarantine period, the seemingly endless period of staying indoors can also affect the mental health of those who go through isolation. Clean, untextured walls were seen before as a way of keeping homes less susceptible to dust and bacterial accumulation. Yet if they are walls that are reminiscent of hospital environments, seeing those walls 24/7 for weeks and months, makes the uncertainty of what lies ahead seems even more depressing.

Most companies are contemplating on making their employees work from home on a permanent basis. In homes where there are few spaces to convert as a home office, performing work remotely might not be as productive and effective. Mainly because it will be difficult to avoid interruptions and/or distractions.

Imagine a household where there is a free flowing set up between the kitchen, the dining area and the living room. Adults who will work-from-home by using the dining table as their work space, can easily be distracted if one of the children has to attend an online class at the same time. Apparently, the home will be the center of all diverse sets of daily activities taken on by every family member.

Helping Architects Gather New Insights for Designing Post-Pandemic Homes

In all probability, most architecture firms are into researching information on how they can make new architectural designs that will help homeowners transition effectively to a post-pandemic lifestyle. Aside from conducting surveys, some research work also consider personal blogs that share actual experiences related to the new norms brought on by the pandemic.

We at Barbaraiweins.com offer a trustworthy platform where bloggers can post articles about a wide range of topics. As this article aims to provide architects with additional insights from which to draw ideas for new home designs, home improvements, and changes in lifestyle write for us by publishing them as guest posts in our website.

Green Roofs, Garden Spaces in Urban Settings

Green roofs and garden spaces characterize modern architectural designs; suggesting inclinations toward making urban settings more respectful of nature. In having awareness of the impact buildings have on the environment, not a few modern structures have turned roofs into garden spaces and panels into vertical gardens.

Cities serve as centers of productivity but they are also main producers of stressors affecting mental health. In order to make the concrete jungle environment less stressful and more supportive of creativity and innovations, modern architects are now including vertical gardening concepts in their building designs.

It’s not just about providing spaces and concrete boxes in which potted plants can be planted and placed. It’s also about making the structures ready for a hydroponics growing system.

What is Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardening is a method of growing plants in vertically suspended panels that are either part of wall structures or freestanding, whilst designed to support a hydroponic system. The matter of where such panels are incorporated as designs of the building, also takes into consideration the flow of air and sunlight.

Hydroponics by the way, is a system in which plants thrive by letting their roots come in direct contact with nutrient-rich water-based solutions while embedded in inert mediums like peat moss, clay pellets, vermiculite, perlite or rockwool.

That being the case, vertical gardens whether for indoor or outdoor cultivation, can make an edifice pop not only with green color but also with lush hues. Moreover, interior vertical gardens make indoor atmosphere cleaner and easier to breathe, thereby promoting a healthier indoor environment. Exterior vertical gardens on the other hand can improve insulation against temperature fluctuations brought about by UV radiations or by heavy rains

Not all urban centers are equal though, as many are still working or living in older buildings constructed at a time when the idea of greening indoor areas had not been given much thought. Still, indoor gardening remains possible, as there are now methods and supplements in making interior cultivation a successful endeavor. .

Indoor Gardening Tips

Indoor gardening experts have proven you don’t need a lot of space and deep soil to grow plants and set up a garden inside one’s building space. A smaller area is just as ideal as a large one and might even prove better, since it denotes less time and attention devoted in keeping a garden space healthy and beautiful.

When buying pots, invest in different sizes. That way you can grow plants in different sizes as well, and be able to place them in varying levels as a means of optimizing a garden space.

Choose plants wisely, because not every species can thrive with little air and water; while some others are great attractors of insects and pests.

When selecting an indoor garden space, make sure there is a drainage system where excess water coming from pot holes can flow.

Don’t forget to add layers of shingles or pebbles at the bottom to prevent clogging of pot holes.

Add high-quality potting mix to the soil and use only fertilizers recommended for indoor gardening.

Consider using grow tents as a way of protecting your indoor plants from seasonal changes. Know more about the advantages of using this internal gardening aid from websites featuring Vivosun grow tents reviewed by verified users.

The R&D Tax Credit – Can Providers of Architectural Services Still Claim this Tax Cut?

As the deadline of filing for the 2019 tax return draws nearer, business tax service firms are advising providers of architectural and engineering services to take caution when claiming an older tax cut, known as the Research & Development or R&D Tax Credit.

The R&B tax credit is available to businesses that meet the criteria prescribed by the 1981 legislation that enacted this tax cut. As the R&D tax credit became permanent in 2015, IRS statistics show that nearly one-third of its claimants are taxpayers who provide professional services as a business, including architects. Collectively, the IRS identifies these service providers as Specified Service Trade or Business or SSTBs.

However, in 2016, the IRS established a division to undertake review of the returns filed by businesses with less than $10 million in assets. Known as the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) Division, its examiners held the position that SSTBs like architects and engineers, do not provide services that would qualify their activities as meeting the criteria of the R&D Tax Credit.

As a result, the said professionals were disqualified from applying the R&D Tax Credit as a means of reducing their tax liability for the related tax year/s.

Still, architectural or engineering businesses that have more than $10 million in assets might not experience the same disqualification. Their tax returns are reviewed by examiners of the IRS Large Business and International (LB&I) Division, which still consider architectural and engineering businesses eligible for assessment; not undermining their potential to satisfactorily meet the Business Component Test related to the R&D Tax Credit.

What are the Criteria that Businesses Must Meet in Order to Qualify for the R&D Tax Credit

The R&D tax credit defines research as a tool for satisfying the need to carry out the following purposes;

  • Eliminating elements of uncertainty that can adversely affect the results of the product or service offered by the business
  • Facilitating or reducing time spent in the process of experimentation.
  • To efficiently and effectively provide products or services that are technological in nature.
  • Achieving the qualified purpose or permitted purpose of the business, which in the new Business Component Test specifies product or service that requires research for developing or improving new functionality or performance.

In addition, the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed (SB/SE) examiners also review the acceptance and payment terms related to the architectural or engineering service contract. That way, it can be established if the cost of research is part of the fees collected by architects or engineers from their customers.

If so, it technically means the cost of research was funded by the client who contracted the service, and not by the architect or engineer who provided the professional service.

The Truth about Architecture as a Career or Business

An architect’s job seems to be one of those glamorous line of work that hardly gives reason to get stressed out. Now why would a job that gives lots of opportunities for earning, just by doing something one has a great passion for, be stressful? Yet designing houses and buildings, and may be, even skyscrapers, is not all that it takes to make a great paying profession out of an architectural career or business.

Architects face challenges, particularly those who are still in that stage of trying to build a name for themselves or for their business. Challenges faced by architects depend on their circumstances; and for this post, we will consider only the basics

Newbie or a Fresh Grad

A fresh grad’s first concern is getting hired for an internship at the least. It is the first difficult task to hurdle since most architectural firms usually hire those with bankable experience. Not unless an applicant for an entry position has a good list of bankable traits, academic qualifications, an Architect Registration Examination (ARE) license, additional continuing courses on and trainings completed, design competitions won, job-related volunteer work, an impressive portfolio of sketches and drawings and other similar records or documents that will give an aspiring architect fresh out of college, an edge over other applicants.

StartUp Architectural Business

Startup architectural businesses have to battle with a common misconception among building owners or property developers that hiring an architectural firm only spells additional costs. Nowadays, most architectural firms take proactive steps by looking for large-scale business projects to which they can take their firm’s building or housing design ideas.

Again, the matter of creating an edge over bidding competitors is of utmost importance. Previous projects to support stakeholder-compliant designs, sustainable architectural ideas, ability to create practical and attractive designs that require reasonable building costs, are only some of the elements that can increase chances of winning a lucrative contract. All these and some can add value to a design proposal.

Established Architectural Businesses

Architectural businesses that have made a name for themselves still face challenges since they have to keep up with the continuing evolution of the profession. They already have and edge over others but must make sure they stay ahead of the competitive world of architecture. Fresh revolutionary ideas coming from startup companies are not to be disregarded, since new technologies are now available to make them more competitive. The matter of winning clients is essential, because financial stability and sustainability is one way of keeping their pool of talented architects under their wing.

Managing a pool of professionals is also a considerable challenge, as the firm relies not only with their ability to create impressive building designs that can add value to their client’s vision. A firm must be able to support their talents with software that will allow them to yield excellent work at a quicker pace, as well as help gather information about new materials, fresh sources, and trending preferences when it comes to building and housing occupancy.

Rest and Recreation: A General Issue for Every Busy Architect

In whatever capacity or condition architects work in, the job requires long hours of conceptualizing, sketching, and designing; whilst putting a lot of considerations in mind such as building regulations, stakeholder requirements, as well as engineering value to their concept. At the same time, an ongoing project also requires on-site visits and client meetings, which could really make a day’s work even more gruelling.

Actually, finding time for rest and recreation is one of the challenges faced by most architects. The need to alleviate stressful work conditions when R&R is not yet affordable and available. Some employers give their architects time off after successfully completing a project so they can re-energize. In the meantime, day to day office support may come in the form of ergonomic chairs; or something as simple as a foot hammock that allows release of pressure on the lower back leading to proper blood circulation.