In today’s fast-moving era of change in every sphere of life, the field of architecture is no exception. There is a gradually developing shift in the way buildings are designed and constructed. The materials, techniques, thought processes, design, and goals of a building are now changing with the advent of modern technology and a need for sustainability in order to be conscious of our current situation. There is also an increasing amount of interdisciplinary interaction between architecture and other relevant fields. Thus, a number of highly important specialisations are coming up that will most probably shape our future.

3D Environments and Visualisations

Software for the development of 2D plans and elevations into 3D models is gathering demand for an easy interface. Architects need to be able to present a comprehensible vision of the design and idea behind a structure. A statically rendered image may provide a still of the site while still leaving the viewer wanting for a more rounded experience. Thus, there have been leaps of advancements in the field of virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) with a view to architecture. 

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Virtual Scene of a House created in Enscape_aecmag.com

The VR/AR head-mounted displays create a three-dimensional, virtual world for the user to interact with and move in. It allows an easy understanding of the space, dimensions, scale, and depth of the structure. VR also plays an important role in every step of the architectural process- from the initial design brainstorming sessions to the construction process; it helps reveal unknown errors and iron out flaws. Game engine softwares have been redeveloped to make it more accessible to architects and designers. Thus, softwares can be recycled to have useful real-world applications. Some softwares used to create virtual worlds are Autodesk LIVE, Enscape, and IrisVR Prospect.

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Scene rendered in IrisVR Prospect with adjustable settings_aecmag.com

There is also another useful system for creating 3D models – 3D printing. While not a particularly new process, there have been considerable advancements in the technology required for 3D printing to reduce the amount of time it utilises. The quality of the model printed by the 3D printer depends on several factors, such as the thickness of the paper used, the size of the model, and the quality of the printer.

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Ultimake 3 Extended 3D Printer_lifeofanarchitect.com

Micro-cities

There is a rising culture of micro-cities created by big companies such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The idea behind these micro-cities is the creation of high-density urban environments that promote a healthy balance between life and work, although confined to a small bubble. The concept of “15-minute cities” where all amenities and services are provided within the distance of a short walk or a bicycle ride. It is thus necessary to train upcoming architects in the design of such urban centres and to educate them on the demands and shortcomings of such spaces. It also becomes important to highlight the distinct separation of public and private spaces in such self-sustained places.

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Bab Al-Bahrein square, a self-sustained island_futurearchitectureplatform.org

Energy Management and Sustainability

Sustainability is undoubtedly one of the most important emerging fields in architecture. With rising global temperatures and a deteriorating climate, structures must be designed to have a low environmental impact. Existing structures must also be modified to make them capable of withstanding the heavy damage that the violent winds and rains will undeniably force on them. Net-zero carbon emissions, easy and low-effort maintenance, energy-efficient buildings, and integrating nature within the design process will all help to have a positive impact on the climate.

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Shanghai Tower- One of the most sustainable buildings in the world_unsplash.com

It is also considered that the shorter a lifespan of a building, the more sustainable it is. This is because most long-lasting materials are very unhealthy and polluting for the environment as they produce a lot of heat and require all sorts of non-recyclable objects in their creation. Passive cooling and Vertical Farming are two very successful means of climate-responsive architectural techniques that have been implemented in the buildings of huge cities such as Singapore and Dubai.

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Garden by the Bay in Singapore_unsplash.com

Social Future

Architecture plays an important role in the development of communities and in encouraging social interaction. It helps bridge the gap between various groups of people and brings together an extremely diverse group of people. It inspires inclusiveness and diversity and provides a place for cultural gatherings. During the pandemic, there have also been multiple examples of buildings being repurposed for functions they were not initially constructed for. Schools and colleges were used to house the sick and affected, airports were used as drive-in movie theatres and storage facilities, and subway spaces were used to shelter the homeless.

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A theatre in Buenos Aires that got repurposed into a library_boredpanda.com

Future of Buildings

The future of building structures lies in technology. With the progress of technology and smart systems, spaces can be created in such a way that they adapt to the preferences of a user. The water and air regulation systems can be automated to prevent a waste of energy. There is also automation of the lighting and gas systems that reduces the electricity bills significantly.

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Smart Building_en.idate.org

Airbnbs are growing investments in the future of architecture. There is also the thought of architecture in outer space. With the expeditions to various planets, it might prove necessary to have structures in space. Thus, off-earth or space architecture is another field that holds promise in the future.

Space Architecture by Yanko Design_yankodesign.com

Architecture has come a long way from what it once had been. With the advancement of technology and the development of new materials and technology, the need for the emergence of new fields grew. There are specialisations today that are a subject of discussion but which might have been unimaginable in the past. The future of architecture beyond today is most certainly going to be very different from today, inspiring creation and innovation.

References

Lidija Grozdanic – Archipreneur (2015).5 Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Architecture. [online]. Available at: https://archipreneur.com/5-emerging-trends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-architecture/ [Accessed date: 11/06/2022].

Rayvat Engineering. Emerging Trends In Architecture. [online]. Available at: https://www.rayvatengineering.com/emerging-trends-in-architecture/ [Accessed date: 11/06/2022].

Greg Corke – AecMag (2016). Virtual Reality for architecture: a beginner’s guide. [online]. Available at: https://aecmag.com/vr-mr/virtual-reality-vr-for-architecture-a-beginner-guide/  [Accessed date: 12/06/2022].

Sarah Wray – Cities Today (2021). The Shifting Shape of Microcities. [online]. Available at: https://cities-today.com/the-shifting-shape-of-microcities/ [Accessed date: 12/06/2022].

Author

Kanak Holani is a first year architecture student who can usually be found reading novels and trying her hand at various crafts. She is passionate about history, culture and climate and how it all ties in with architecture.

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