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Honorable Mention: ‘The Semi’ is a sustainable device protecting against COVID-19 transmission.

As the first honorable mention from the Rethinking Hospitality architecture competition, GGV highlights “The Semi” as a semi-constructed, semi-constraining, and semi-transparent innovative design to explore how business owners can protect customers from spreading COVID-19. This design was created by Xueyuan Wang, Jiaye Li and Ruizi Zeng of Rice University.

The Semi is a semi-constructed, semi-constraining, and semi-transparent device to help restaurants, cafés, and bars to embrace the "new normal".

The device mainly consists of a screen and a frame, measuring 6 feet (an indication of the state-issued safety distance) in width, 7 feet in height. It has six clips on one side of the frame and correspondingly, six slots on the other side. Each device is stabilized and mobilized through 4 wheels on the bottom.

Semi-constructed: The Semi can be mass-produced in pieces and then self-assembled on site. We assigned lightweight and sustainable material for our design, using recycled polycarbonate as the screen and wood as a frame. We choose these materials for its universality and accessibility, making the Semi easier to manufacture locally. These components are also affordable and structurally promising.

Semi-constraining: The Semi blocks the transmission route of airborne viruses between groups of customers while granting the versatility in spatial arrangements to adapt to different restaurants' needs. The Semi is equipped with wheels, giving it the mobility to shift position quickly. The interlocking clips and corresponding slots on the frame allow the device to interconnect freely and rotate freely. These features give restaurant managers various possibilities for seating arrangements.

Semi-transparent: The semi-transparency of the polycarbonate screen allows visual access beyond the safety boundary. This optical transparency preserves what's unique about the restaurant experience – that you are immersed in the restaurant atmosphere with other diners. The Semi also has a pouch for menus, minimizing physical contacts between the waiters and the customers during the ordering process.

Throughout this week, GGV will be publishing all post-competition entries. Follow along to learn more about the creative designs from architecture students.

To learn more about the Rethinking Hospitality architecture competition: https://www.good-goes-viral.com/rethinking-hospitality

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