MARCH 2021

Shifting Space

Julian Lai is a 2nd year architecture student at the University of Waterloo. I aim to produce spaces that welcome inhabitants and instill a sense of comfort in them. Architecture to me is creating spaces that invite people in, compelling them to spend time in them.

The onset of Covid-19 has forced many changes to our day to day lives and how we operate as humans. The implementation of social distancing has altered how we exist in the public realm, extended our social boundaries, and expanded the space in which each person occupies. At any given time and space, we are able to see the effects of this, as significantly less people now inhabit the public realm. This begs the questions – What are shared spaces in a Covid world? What are shared spaces post-Covid? How will they operate differently compared to before? This photo essay is an investigation into now empty urban cores. With the absence of people, which these spaces are built for, how are these spaces perceived. Without inhabitants to fill them up, do we still see the built environment in the same manner? This is the product of a shift in perspective brought about by Covid.

  • Part 1 of the photo essay examines the nature of the urban fabric on a large scale. Although the city itself does not appear to change on a macro level, once we change the scale at which we examine the city, it becomes apparent that Covid has had an impact.

   PART 1


  • Part 2 captures the products of such change. Architects create buildings to frame spaces and the people that inhabit them. With the inhabitants gone, how do buildings exist by themselves, void of purpose? What marks are left behind in the public realm as everyone retreats into the privacy of their own spaces?



             PART 2 

    PART 2 

        PART 2 

  • Part 3 aims to uncover occupation in a time of Covid. With social distancing being enforced, voids are created in the public realm as people stop occupying them. Will we ever be able to fill these voids in a post Covid world or will these scars be left for years to come before time rids us of them?



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