“There is more and more research that shows the direct influence that our homes have, not only on our moods, but our overall health and well-being”, – Timothy Corrigan, Interior designer
By its very essence, a new year is packed full of optimism and the potential of new beginnings and experiences. But, as an exhausted world deliberates over what the future could promise after approximately two years of struggle, it appears that we’re grasping to predictability more than ever. Design trends have been embraced as aesthetic and functional aids in attempts to reach inner calm for generations. So, what can we predict in terms of a plethora of designs starting in 2022? For instance, analysts anticipate that the enclosing, earthy palette of browns will become more prevalent, as seen in fabrics like leather. Additionally, this year pioneers the entire postulation of a virtual community playing a major role in our day-to-day lives in the form of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Metaverse. Here are 10 architectural and design trends that are to be explored and iterated upon in 2022.
1. Prefabrication is the Future of Mass Housing and New Typologies
The persisting housing crisis is one of the heavily urbanized dilemmas that the pandemic has brought to the forefront. By the end of 2021, the trajectory had become evident: property prices had risen exponentially over the world, aggravated precarious living standards, and climate change was a chronic threat. As a corollary, designers have had to examine alternative innovations, elements, and solutions for more sustainable, cost-effective housing developments that don’t have to compromise design in these unpredictable times.
In addition to being employed for elaborate, ostentatious constructions, this technology has been rigorously tested in the housing industry as well. In actuality, several 3D-printed residential constructions have sprung to fruition this year adopting a variety of materials. With these beneficial implementations in mind, digital visualization of every component via advancements such as BIM and renderings has been critical in progressing the printing process. It is feasible to maximize understanding of how elements integrate and interact – and hence strive for a smarter, more innovative design – by precisely modeling construction systems, with all of their dimensions and layers.
2. Renovation of Existing Buildings
The AEC industry is yet again at the forefront following COP26 in Glasgow, UK, for its significant impact on global carbon emissions and the amount of energy squandered by structures, particularly older constructions. Buildings account for almost 40% of worldwide carbon-dioxide emissions annually. Building operations contribute approximately 28% emissions annually, while building materials and construction contribute an additional 11% in the form of embedded carbon emissions. As a result, restoration and repurposing could be seen as the greenest aim to minimize a structure’s detrimental ecological impact. Renovation reduces carbon emissions, enhances people’s well-being, and strengthens economic growth. Additionally, unlike infrastructure or renewables, which are concentrated on a centralized location, it has the advantage of generating advantages across socio-economic backgrounds irrespective of geography.
3. Technology Trends in Architecture and Design
Construction automation, real-time simulation tools, laser scanning, photogrammetry, and interactive innovations like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), all of which are included by the umbrella term extended reality, are all available in the AEC industry (XR). User expectations are rising in connection to XR and the broad swath of virtualization technologies and tools it incorporates, with demands for virtual reality-related outcomes to be included in negotiations, similar to how BIM models were seven to ten years ago.
Nonetheless, research and advancements in the field of real-time collaboration and immersion technology are underway at organizations like Google, Microsoft, Enscape, UNStudio, and BIG, Zaha Hadid VR Group (ZHVR), MVRDV, and Aalto University in Finland. For designers, the advent of immersive virtual technologies provides the potential for administering the enormous amounts of information generated throughout the design and construction process, making it more than primarily a visualization tool, as well as involving clients in the design process.
4. Smart Homes and Home Automation
Home automation is an architectural trend that may adopt various shapes, from instructing Amazon’s Alexa to turn off the lights to a smartphone app that can automate door locks, room temperature, and myriad other operations just about anywhere in the country. A smart building provides additional convenience to its occupants while also lowering utility costs. Domotic architecture reflects a social awareness of sustainability and the need to generate and consume ethically and responsibly.
5. Internet of Things (IoT) and Architecture
Climate change has increased the obligation on infrastructure to operate, specifically in the context of building systems integration. Architecture and construction are being challenged to produce structures that are smarter, more sustainable, and positioned to avert the catastrophes of tomorrow’s climate in an era where infrastructural planning must be readjusted and building rules must adapt for dynamically altering settings. Considering the substantial breakthroughs in consumer technology that are presently available to evaluate physical wellbeing by examining pulse rate or generating diagnoses: for buildings, IoT data will play a pivotal part.
Structures, homeowners, and communities are all yearning for technologies that will help them audit and analyze performance, estimate and avoid problems, and effectively design smarter buildings and cities in the future.
6. Environmentally Sustainable and Distinctive Smart Materials
We have explored everything from solar panels to triple-glazed windows to construct structures that are prepared to adjust for the environment and subsequent generations. Ultimately, whether or not our concepts are sustainable is dictated by the preliminary judgments we make for the construction, with the materials we employ having a significant effect on the overall carbon footprint. With emerging innovations come new approaches of blending frequently found materials into the building’s exterior, simultaneously lowering the structure’s inherent energy, and enhancing its capabilities. According to NASA, smart materials retain their specifications and acclimate to their specific context when exposed to distinctive triggers.
7. Multi-functional Spaces
As we approach another year of COVID permutations, our living spaces are expanding to multitask as working areas, as is a new notion. The kitchen operates as a discussion room, and the living room is repurposed into a work area. Dining room walls will be adorned with wine stockpiling or book racks, guest rooms will be outfitted with workstations, and bedrooms will be outfitted with workout apparatus. Individuals consider their residences to function and expand more effectively for them as they spend more time inside.
8. Metaverse: A Virtual Community
Since Facebook announced its major revision to Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized that the metaverse constitutes the company’s direction towards future growth, the expression has gained a lot of traction. The concept “Metaverse” was invented by Neal Stephenson as a succession to the Internet, and it symbolizes Stephenson’s notion of how digitalization can unfold in the upcoming future. It was adapted from a 1992 sci-fi novel “Snowcrash.” In an essence, the metaverse is a vision of interconnected, real-time, and enduring virtual communities of individuals teleporting across digital realities driven by XR systems where individuals may live, work and play.
“Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.” – Matthew Ball, Capitalist.
But who will build the metaverse?
The metaverse, according to the tech community, should be an open, accessible, and adaptable environment, and not governed by a single corporation. Simultaneously, the most “Metaverse conception stocks” at the moment, Roblox and Epic Games consider that the metaverse needs decentralized genes to avert being privatized by a few entities.
How can architects have a role in forming and expanding the global metaverse?
For many years, the internet has been primarily a 2D database with linkages, but now it is beginning to seem more compelling with the possibility for 3D interactions and encounters and will revolutionize the way we work, shop, and live.
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