Jury members of the Golden Trezzini Awards continue to tell us about their impressions of life and work within the situation of COVID-19 pandemic. President of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Thomas Vonier has shared his comment on how the crisis is being handled in Korea.
“When the World Health Organization declared this global pandemic, I was in Seoul on business, and later went by train to central South Korea for meetings,” Thomas Vonier says, “That week involved encounters with about 200 people indoors and sharing public spaces and transit systems with thousands more.
“In Korea, I saw how sensible security policies and high-functioning public infrastructure can help to cope effectively with a major health crisis.
“To begin with, hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers were ubiquitous. They were in train depots, bus stations, parks, outdoor spaces, stores, and public buildings. Almost everywhere you looked, notices showed the “correct” ways to sneeze, cough, and wash hands. Illustrated instructions–some designed expressly for children – were also everywhere: on posters, newspapers, and billboards. They were repeated in public address announcements and on video-screen spots.
“In short, with nearly every step, you saw urgent responses to a serious public health emergency. Police and uniformed security personnel helped to spread these public messages, always setting a good example.
“It was also impressive to see nearly all Koreans practicing high levels of discipline in both semi-private and public spaces. Masks were in abundant supply and worn almost everywhere. There were no handshakes among friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances.
“My experience in Korea demonstrated that public security in a pandemic is best promoted by good examples, wide repetition of simple messages, and rigorous social reinforcement. All of these measures begin on the front lines, in buildings and public spaces, and with the people responsible for them. Of course, television, radio, and digital media are essential for broadcasting public health messages, but they are also easily turned off, out of view, or ignored.
“In Korea, you could not get away from the message that the country was in an urgent health crisis — and, importantly, everyone around you saw the same thing. The social pressure to wear a mask and to keep distance was palpable.”
Architect Thomas Vonier FAIA RIBA CPP works from Paris and Washington DC for clients with facilities in high-threat environments and for municipalities improving their security postures. Thomas is a licensed architect and board-certified protection professional. He is president of the International Union of Architects (UIA), the global organization representing the world’s 3.2 million architects, and former president of the 95,000-member American Institute of Architects. Member of the Golden Trezzini Jury since 2019.
Entries for the 3rd Golden Trezzini can be submitted at www.goldtrezzini.ru through October 15, 2020. Participation in the Awards is free of charge. The Honourary Chaiman of the International Council of the Awards is Mikhail Piotrovsky, President of the World Club of Petersburgers, General Director of the State Hermitage.
The General Partner of the Golden Trezzini Awards is the State Museum of St. Petersburg History. The System Partner is RBI Group. The Official Awarding Partner is LenRusStroy Building Corporation. To see a full list of the Awards partners, please, check: https://goldtrezzini.ru/en/partners-of-the-golden-trezzini-awards-2020/.