Over the years, I have written a few times about the great balcony debate. It’s a discussion that comes up time and time again as those of us in the building industry go through the process of designing new residential buildings. One the one hand there are the arguments that balconies don’t really get used all that much and that they are bad for the environment (thermal bridging through the slabs). And on the other hand there’s the argument that, regardless of whether or not they actually get used, they form an important part of the buying/renting decision. Usually the former is made by architects and engineers and the latter is made by sales and marketing teams.
Back in 2016, I remarked that I was starting to see more Juliet balconies across Toronto (could have been some sort of bias at work — like when you’re shopping for a new car and then all you can see is that new car). Regardless, there are countless examples of architects and developers omitting balconies and finding creative ways to connect inside and out. But given that this pandemic has forced us to reconsider and reallocate how we use space in our cities, it’s probably worth revisiting the great balcony debate. Has COVID-19 changed how we view outdoor space? And if so, will it last?
I’ve decided to start with a Twitter survey (see above tweet) and then either do a long-form article or a series of posts on the topic. If you have any thoughts that you would like to share (ideally before I write), please leave a comment below or on Twitter.