In Focus: The Effects of the Pandemic on Industrial Design

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all facets of our economy, increasing the cultural dependence on e-commerce which is here to stay. Retailers have responded by minimizing the square footage of brick-and-mortar storefronts, keeping less inventory on-site, and focusing more on entertainment and experiential retailing to keep shoppers engaged. . As a result, the need for warehouses and industrial spaces has exploded, sparking the desire for innovative large-scale facilities that maximize efficiency and logistics operations.

The literal driving force behind the industrial boom is the expansion of transportation capabilities around the world, with international trade becoming the engine of the global economy. Goods are quickly moved around the world on a large scale, allowing consumers to have almost any product at their doorstep in a matter of hours or days at most. This constant exchange and transport of goods has fueled the need for industrial developments and advanced logistics facilities capable of meeting extreme consumer demand.

Developed by Goodman and designed by AO, The Station at Eastvale comprises 185,000 square feet of retail and dining and is part of a three million square foot mixed-use campus that is expected to employ more than 4,000 people at the end.

“Logistics Ports”
Modern industrial facilities and distribution centers improve efficiency at every level with solutions that maximize operations, design and logistics. A key trend that is quickly becoming the gold standard in industrial plant design is the implementation of rack-supported high-rise buildings – a type of building that allows the rack system to provide the primary structural support for the building. entire building, including the roof and walls.

Previously used primarily in port facilities, tall buildings supported by racks are now moving inland, creating “logistics ports” providing businesses with high volume cubic storage capacities. These types of installations are being explored for future industrial developments that allow higher structure heights than typical tilting industrial buildings, thus maximizing usable space.


The need for warehouses and industrial spaces has exploded, driving the desire for innovative large-scale installations.
As the most innovative type of industrial building, it’s no surprise that frame-mounted high-rise buildings rely heavily on automation, another key factor in logistics efficiency. Examples of these systems include automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that move products and pallets, robots that retrieve goods, and automated storage systems with robotic shuttles. Outside the warehouse, traffic plans and systems are an important element, where further efficiency gains can be achieved through the thoughtful integration of cross-docking where structures are designed to accommodate trucks on both sides. of the building.

Industrial master plans
Another trend that has emerged in response to the growing demand for industrial spaces over the past decade is the monumental growth in the size and scale of industrial master plans. Rather than relegating these massive complexes to peripheral industrial areas, as is traditionally the case, local governments have started to capitalize on this trend to demand the inclusion of other consumer uses, such as retail, hospitality, entertainment or office, which can bring additional income, meet the needs of their population and also mitigate risk by diversifying the types of businesses grouped together in one location. Building on site design concepts, architects now design communities of dynamic mixed-use industrial master plans that create synergies for the range of businesses serving the thousands of employees working on site.


Drawing on the concepts of place design, architects now design communities of dynamic mixed-use industrial master plans.
As society begins to recover from the effects of COVID-19, a move away from e-commerce and global commerce is unlikely. Industrial facilities will continue to develop and transform regions with abundant usable land, creating new centers of innovation and business. Architects and designers are challenged to keep pace with demand, changing the design of industrial developments, warehouses and distribution centers in order to keep the economy vibrant.


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