Future100: From Testing Centers to Work-From-Home Towns, Students Respond to the Pandemic

Six architecture and design students took inspiration from our “new normal” to imagine safer interiors and greener neighborhoods.

Monica Beckett Metropolis Top 100 2020 Portfolio Page 03
Monica Beckett completed this concept for a post-COVID grocery store while working with designers at Toronto’s Mason Studio. Responding to the uncertain future of retail, the importance of social distancing, and the surge in home delivery, the design team imagined a grocery retail outlet as an indoor/outdoor hybrid with lockers where customers can pick up preordered goods. Courtesy Monica Beckett

For many students graduating this year, the public health crisis provided ample inspiration for design interventions at the architectural, interior, and urban scales. Some applied their skills to practical solutions such as COVID-19 testing centers, restaurants that adapt to the need for social distancing, and grocery stores designed for contactless shopping. Others saw the pandemic as a catalyst. With municipalities and employers more receptive than ever to big ideas, these scholars perceived opportunities to bring nature into the workplace, reshape commuter towns into livable work-from-home neighborhoods, and develop parks in green-space-strapped urban communities.

Patios Merging
Over the past year, thousands of restaurants around the world have had to scramble to move operations outdoors—most without the guidance of a designer. Amanda Wyman’s design for outdoor dining areas at a Michigan restaurant conforms to social distancing standards. Decisions to include biophilic elements and recyclable materials show the young designer’s attention to materials and atmosphere. Courtesy Amanda Wyman
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A module made up of forms commonly found in children’s playground equipment, Hanqing Yao’s Flipit is actually a COVID-19 testing center. Large enough to accommodate one patient and one health-care worker (separated by a small window), it is designed to take some of the stress out of coronavirus testing. Courtesy Hanqing Yao

Visit metropolismag.com/future100 to see more groundbreaking student work.


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Ryerson University

Undergraduate Interior Design

NOMINATOR: Jonathan Anderson, Associate Professor

Beckett’s portfolio includes fully realized furniture, exhibition booths, public space for socializing outdoors, and a store that facilitates socially distanced shopping.


University of Southern California

Undergraduate Architecture

NOMINATOR: Warren Techentin, Adjunct Professor

Fransz’s passion for public space shines in a social justice center in Los Angeles, where she prevented the ten-story tower from casting shade on the surrounding neighborhood.


Ferris State University

Undergraduate Interior Design

NOMINATOR: Lee Davis, Professor

With workplace, restaurant, and retail interiors, Wyman demonstrates a knack for material and product specification in addition to COVID-19 modifications.


George Washington University

Graduate Interior Design

NOMINATOR: Erin Speck, Assistant Professor of Interior Design

Careful consideration of user experience informs Chang’s designs for projects such as a high-end hotel in Florence and a biophilic workplace in response to the pandemic.


California College of the Arts

Undergraduate Architecture

NOMINATOR: Antje Steinmuller, Associate Professor, Chair of Undergraduate Architecture

Ramirez’s “work from home community” investigates how residential spaces can lessen the burden of childcare by facilitating communal parenting.


University of Pennsylvania

Graduate Architecture

NOMINATOR: Andrew Saunders, Associate Professor, M. Arch Program Director

Across a variety of typologies, Yao creates playful geometries that express a curiosity about how to translate organic forms into buildings that serve people.

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