The world as we know it today is a product of the years that came before it, and technology is a huge part of the change, be it progressive or not. This translates to the field of architecture and design as well, with the advent of new ideas and concepts that were unimaginable even a few decades ago. In those times, the buildings and spaces we see today seemed like a thing of futuristic design, way too far out of the reach of the human mind.  Here are 10 futuristic design concepts that we, as people of today’s world, deem to be futuristic.

1. Dynamic Architecture | Futuristic design

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Envisioned Dynamic Tower, Dubai ©David Fisher. (2006)

Dynamic architecture is a design concept where the fourth dimension of architecture is introduced – time. It involved the use of forces to cause a movement in buildings, making them change constantly and fluidly. This movement is to be done in a way that the building adapts to its surroundings in all of its forms. 

One example of this type of architecture is The Dynamic Tower which is a proposed 420m 80-floor moving skyscraper, designed by architect David Fisher, to be constructed in Dubai. 

2. Zero Emission Architecture

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Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi ©Delhi Airport. (2020)

Architects and designers, now sensitized to the importance of sustainability and environmental awareness are now aiming to design buildings with a Zero Carbon emission level. These buildings are meant to integrate with the surrounding ecosystem; terminals are reimagined as greenhouses and decentralized air-purifying towers. 

The Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi aims to achieve a Zero emission level by 2030. The airport is currently the first airport in Asia Pacific Region to achieve Level 4+ in the Airport Carbon Accreditation program.

3. 3-D Printed Architecture

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Design Concept for TECLA ©mario cucinella architects.

With almost everything in the world being digitalized today, architecture should not be an exception. This brings us to the design concept of 3-D printing. The construction of a completely 3D printed global habitat prototype, TECLA, based on natural materials began in 2019 near Bologna, Italy. It is set to be the first house to be entirely 3D-printed using locally sourced clay which is biodegradable and recyclable and will make the building zero-waste.

4. Underwater Cities

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The Ocean Spiral ©Dezeen.

Following the century-old myths of underwater cities, we now have big corporations proposing the actual construction of self-sustaining cities underwater. Japanese engineering firm Shimizu Corporation proposed an environmentally friendly underwater city that could be a reality by 2030. 

Known as the Ocean Spiral, it aims to consist of a habitable settlement at surface level, which will harness the resources of the ocean which makes it entirely self-sufficient. Renewable energy will be generated by the spiral using ocean thermal energy conversion.

5. Farmscrapers | Futuristic design

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Farmscrapers by Vincent Callebaut Architects ©Vincent Callebaut Architects.

“Farmscraper” is a design concept invented by France and Belgium-based firm Vincent Callebaut Architects for a plan of six skyscrapers created for Shenzhen province in China. The complex consists of towers with ovular, blob-like sections that look like rocks smoothed by years in running water. Each of these sections serves as a host to a miniature forest of trees and grass as well as wind turbines and solar cells. These towers act as self-contained ecosystems.

6. Floating Architecture

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Floating Self-Sustaining City ©My Modern Met.

Floating Architecture is a form of architecture that floats on water and maintains a functional floor height above the water surface for when it is exposed to high tide or flood. 

Serbia-based Aleksandar Joksimovic and Jelena Nikolic propose a self-sustaining city on the water that could hold all living species from humans and animals to plants and trees. The island is connected to the ocean’s floor using flexible cables, providing stability.

7. The Hyperloop

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Hyperloop Design ©Camilo Sanchez. (2015)

The hyperloop is a contemporary form of ground transport that is currently being developed by several companies. It aims to see passengers traveling at over 700 miles an hour in a floating pod that moves extremely fast inside giant low-pressure tubes, either above or below ground. Tubes and tunnels house the pods carrying passengers from which most of the air has been removed to reduce friction. Due to this, the pods are expected to travel up to 750 miles per hour.

8. Architecture in Space

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Conceptual Space Architecture ©Yanko Design

Structurally, the design concept of zero-gravity provides a huge advantage as we do not have to compete with one of the greatest hindrances to architecture, gravity. This gives us a whole new set of possibilities where we can construct structures that no longer have to resist gravitational force. 

Zero gravity could be a fundamental stepping stone in the way we approach design, as it forces us to critique architectural language itself; for example, in zero gravity there is no such thing as a floor.

9. Architecture in the Sky

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Sky Terra Skyscrapers ©Inhabitat

With cities getting more crowded by the day, the search for greener urban spaces becomes more essential. One idea for preserving recreation space in urban environments is by capitalizing on the unused space at higher altitudes. 

The Sky-Terra Skyscraper proposal by San Francisco-based designer Joanna Borek-Clement is a neuron-like network of skyscrapers that tower over the city, bringing public parks, amphitheaters, fields, and public pools closer to the sun. People are transported from street level to the top by elevators present in the inner core of each structure.

10. Metabolic Farms | Futuristic design

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Dragonfly Metabolic Farm ©MGS Architects.

The design concept of metabolic farming eases the ever-increasing need for ecological and environmental self-sufficiency in the urban cityscape. It aims to meet the food, housing, and energy challenges of the future. 

Vincent Callebaut Architects has proposed the design for Dragonfly, a 21st century Metabolic Farm. It includes housing, offices, research labs, and communal areas separated from farms, orchards, and production rooms. It also features wind and solar power-producing capability. Animal and plant farming is arranged to line the glass and steel set of wings.

References

Raoul Parekh (2018). THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE: Part 1 – Dynamic Architecture [online]. (Last updated June 26, 2018). Available at: https://www.z-dd.com/future-architecture-part-1-dynamic-architecture/ [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Delhi Airport (2020). GMR’s Delhi Airport to become Net Zero Carbon Emission Airport by 2030 [online]. (Last updated November 18, 2020). Available at: https://www.newdelhiairport.in/blog/gmr-delhi-airport-to-become-net-zero-carbon-emission-airport [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Kyle Chayka (2013). Are “Farmscrapers” the Future of Sustainable Architecture? [online]. (Last updated April 2, 2013). Available at: https://hyperallergic.com/68025/are-farmscrapers-the-future-of-sustainable-architecture/ [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Steve Ranger (2019). What is Hyperloop? Everything you need to know about the race for super-fast travel [online]. (Last updated August 16, 2019). Available at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/what-is-hyperloop-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-future-of-transport/#:~:text=Hyperloop%20is%20a%20new%20form,either%20above%20or%20below%20ground. [Accessed 6 May 2021].

MIT Media Lab. Spatial Flux: Body and architecture in space [online]. Available at: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/spatial-flux/overview/ [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Inhabitat (2009). Sky-Terra Towers Sprout Cities in the Skies [online]. (Last updated April 23, 2009). Available at: https://inhabitat.com/sky-terra-cellular-skyscrapers-provide-public-space/ [Accessed 6 May 2021].

MGS Architecture. Dragonfly Future Metabolic Farm for Urban Agriculture [online]. Available at: https://www.mgsarchitecture.in/architecture-design/projects/418-dragonfly-future-metabolic-farm-for-urban-agriculture.html [Accessed 6 May 2021].

Author

Priyesha is currently a student at RV College of Architecture, Bengaluru. An avid reader with a passion for travelling, she also has a background in public speaking, debating, creative writing and music. She aims to find a good balance between these personal interests and her academic interest in architecture.

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