Will COVID-19 Change Museum Architecture?
28 August 2020

Here’s a happy thought: COVID-19 will—at some point—recede, and like pandemics of the past it will be history, another story to tell. But after the disease is gone, will any of the effects linger, possibly even forever? People have speculated as much, forecasting positive and negative effects on our economy, our public policy, and our professional and social lives.

In the museum field, many have asked whether some of the adaptations to programming and exhibitions will stick, with more available online and an increased focus on service to the local community. But what about museums’ physical presences themselves: their buildings? Will they be reimagined and reoriented to follow suit?

To find out, we talked to architects and engineers at two leading firms: Cooper Robertson—known for projects like the Whitney Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Buro Happold—a contributor to projects like the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Here’s what they had to say about planning in a pandemic.

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