Fitness hits the reset button

Adapting gyms for social distancing

Wider transitional spaces, new material finishes and a pre- and post-vaccine design could change how gyms look and function in the future

The post-Covid gym will be a very different space, especially the back-end engineering, believes Kunal Naithani of White Studio Architects. “Visually, they will have more spaced-out configurations, and transitional spaces between zones [such as free weights and the cardio section] will be a lot wider. We will see translucent screens between equipment to minimise physical contact,” says the New Delhi-based architect, who has designed Fitness First Health Clubs’ centres in the country, and gyms in Mumbai and the capital.

Adapting gyms for social distancing

Material finishes are also going through deeper scrutiny for viral behaviour (studies of other coronaviruses have found that they remained on metal, glass and plastic for up to nine days).

“From an engineering perspective, new gyms will look at dedicated broadcast studios to record and stream workouts. We are already doing research and development for things like air conditioning and sanitisation systems, which will be critical to ensure consumer safety and health,” he says, adding that showers and steam rooms will play an even bigger role.

The design exercise will also have a pre-vaccine and post-vaccine brief. “This will be the main challenge. We will have to design it as layers, where space usage is optimal and ‘switchable’ — a spaced out gym with lesser equipment [pre-vaccine], but ensuring it can be adapted for denser equipment placement post-vaccine.”

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 3:49:02 AM |

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