The challenges of the past year gave designers every reason to recede into the shadows, but creativity won't be denied. If anything, they are finding inspiration in global upheaval. 

From hundreds of possibilities, here are just a few examples we selected of projects begun or realized despite close borders, disrupted supply chains and economic collapse.


Truly a shelter in place.

Each year, a team of graduate students studying at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia in Barcelona design a self-sufficient structure aimed at reducing the effects of climate change.

But the lass of 2019-2020 chose to take on another global crisis by imagining an architectural response to the coronavirus pandemic.

'We had two crises at the same time,'' said Vicente Gullart, a director of the master's programnme in advanced ecological buildings and biocities. ''And the question was what we can learn about that.''

Over five months and under strict quarantine conditions, Mr. Guallart and his co-director Daniel Ibanez led the group of 17 students in constructing an ecological wood cabin, known as the Voxel, a structure designed with everything one might need to quarantine for 14 days.

The design was executed with just 40 pine trees, all harvested less than a mile from the construction site in Barcelona's Collserola Natural Park.

It also includes solar panels, independent battery storage and a rainwater collection and graywater recycling system.

The roughly 150-square-foot-cabin, which rises almost 14 feet, now stands nearly camouflaged among the same pines used to construct it.

The World Students Society thanks authors Global Design, Julie Lasky, Lila Allen and Lauren Messman.


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