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A pandemic that has created a happy home

Is there art without design? And design without art? Meetings with art as part of archiDAY is a series of industry events for architects, designers and interior decorators, but not only. This year's archiDay is centred around online activities. The pandemic has caused us to spend more time in our homes too. The role of art and architecture in our lives and what is a "happy home" were discussed by the architect Jakub Wiśniewski of JMW Architekci, Jarosław Krawczyk, PR Lead on behalf of OTODOM, and Ewa Jarczewska-Gerc of the University of SWPS.


Change in the meaning of residence

The pandemic changed our way of thinking, our perception of our immediate surroundings and our daily choices. We started looking for houses with more space, flats with more space, necessarily with a balcony or a terrace. As Ewa Jarczewska-Gerc mentioned:

- Previously, many people treated their flat as a bedroom. Life went on during the day outside the house, outside the flat, at the workplace. After work we went to meetings, met with friends. Because of the pandemic, we moved our lives to one place. The children study remotely, we also work remotely and suddenly this space is missing. Interestingly, it turns out that people perceive space in a subjective way. Those who relocated during the pandemic did not change their flat to a statistically larger one.

Jaroslaw Krawczyk adds:

- Even if we move from 50m2 to another 50m2 but better laid out, with designated functional zones, divided into activities, our subjective perception of space is completely different.

Data from reports prepared by the OTODOM portal in cooperation with researchers from the University of SWPS show how preferences on the real estate market have been changing in recent, specific times. As a result of the pandemic, we not only need more space. Our way of thinking has radically changed. We attach more importance to the way we spend our free time or make our dreams come true, which we used to put off until later. The motives for looking for a new place have also changed. It is no longer about expanding the family, which used to be crucial, but more and more often about adapting the place we live in to our life goals.

Jakub Wiśniewski rightly points out that:

- ,,The pivot of all these events is man. A situation has come along that has changed the established reality. We no longer use only the basic functions that our dwelling offers us. People have started to notice what is in their homes."

Similarly, we notice that we lack a place to work or an extra room for the child to do homework.

Residential functionality a new indicator of satisfaction

The pandemic has effectively demolished the old criteria for property selection. Today, those properties which have access to a garden or natural greenery have gained unquestionable importance. We want to be closer to nature, but in our own intimate space.

Jakub Wiśniewski emphasises that:

- From an architect's perspective, a good location has always been a value, as have the surroundings and the spirit of the place, but now looking at the data presented, these criteria have become even more pronounced. Clients haven't really been exposed to what they have in their interiors. They no longer need a good commute to a place, but proximity to nature and greenery, which is clearly highlighted in the presented statistics, but also a developed infrastructure that ensures their safety.

The demand for proximity to nature is reinforced by the drastic increase in the price of not only the houses themselves, but also the price of land.

Changes in preferences in the property market

The key findings of the discussion, based on the report on the housing market situation in Q3 2021 by OTODOM and SWPS, illustrate certain relationships. The increase in NBP interest rates has lowered the creditworthiness of Poles, which has contributed to a 1% drop in average offer prices, with the decrease visible only in the smallest towns and mainly in the primary market. The value of townhouses has also weakened, recorded in yet another quarter. So what is going up in light of the ongoing changes? Certainly flats built after the transformation, noticeable especially in medium-sized cities. The high difference between demand and supply contributes to the trend of rising prices for smaller flat areas.

What about after the pandemic?

The diagnosis of needs is the most important driver of change and it has become the glue that influences the quality of the final residential project. According to the survey, the growing ecological awareness, indicated by the respondents' need for contact with greenery, will intensify, thus maintaining a higher demand for properties outside the city. Jarosław Krawczyk points out that according to the conducted research

- 1/3 of Poles are currently in the process of changing their residence. They have moved, are actively looking for a new property or intend to move soon. This is as much as 1/3 of the representative group of Poles.

Awareness of good design, and therefore full awareness of our own and our family's needs, makes the architect's position even stronger in relation to satisfaction with our living space. The role of this profession has always been important from an aesthetic point of view. Nowadays, the architect is a kind of lens in the eye of the client who creates his space. Where we live is significantly related to the level of happiness. In addition to a strong and important role in aesthetic and functional issues, there is a new sense - providing support to the client in such a way that they build a place worth living in. Finally, it is worth recalling the sentence mentioned during the interview, which is an apt summary of the results of the study:

,,Design is always human-centric. Design always begins and ends with the human being", and this is what we should remember when creating our domestic happiness.


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