“As an architect, you design for the present, with an awareness of the past, for a future which is essentially unknown.” Norman Foster

Architecture has changed tremendously over the last few decades. The 17th century stunned the world by the possibilities in the construction industry one can achieve by the use of materials like glass, steel, and concrete. The effect of the industrial revolution and globalization brought about a massive change in the way the construction industry developed all over the world. It posed enormous pressure on the environment. 

Fast forward to the 21st century, we see the aftermath of the spontaneous growth the industry has seen ever since, in the form of climate change, population explosion, depletion of non-renewable resources, excessive waste accumulation, and above all the buildings’ effect on the environment.

“I think it’s in bad shape. From the skies to the waters, to the happiness of people, the haves and the have-nots. There are so many places on the planet that are trashed beyond repair. The oil spills, the junk, the sewerage, the radioactivity. It just keeps growing.” – Michael Reynolds

The world has changed, and so has its architecture. It is no longer enough to just build for fulfilling our requirements. Today, we see new building strategies being implemented such as crowdfunding, sustainable design, net-zero buildings, building from waste, and many more. All this with technological developments has brought us to a level of awareness on how certain challenges can be tackled.

The last few years have brought enormous innovations into the architectural paradigm. The experience of VR and immersive architecture has given us the luxury of perceiving the finished product even before it is built. This has allowed designers to have better relations with their clients. The ability to create large 3D printed building elements in the form of facades or structural members has led to the creation of buildings that were never thought possible before.

Parametric design enables us to achieve the best aesthetics and functionality in buildings. First pioneered by Frank O Gehry, this has ever since been explored by various other architects like Zaha Hadid Architects, NOX architects, etc. Another paramount tool that helps in generating 3D models is BIM. This not only generates 3D models but also creates data of the entire building that could help in construction, design, documentation, and building management, throughout the life cycle of the building. Adding to this the use of robotics in building construction has also helped create value-engineered structure. 

Architecture- The turning tables - Sheet1
Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao_©Wikipedia
Architecture- The turning tables - Sheet2
The mall at the Galaxy Soho_©https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/zaha-hadid-controls-the-curve_o

Today, big data and smart city concepts help provide a better transport system, safety, and budget control to cities. All these are done using smart sensors that collect and analyse data. In the long run, this could help in optimizing city operations, managing resources, and improving the everyday life of citizens. 

So, what is the future of Architecture? By taking into account the marvellous innovations technology has brought in, it is safe to say that it is the way forward. Technology is going to have a major impact on the way our built environment will change in the future. It is going to be the catalyst that brings together built and unbuilt into the direction of sustainability. 

With innovations, one can see buildings being constructed from natural elements that mimic the poetics of nature through bio-engineering. The efforts for this are already underway by personalities like Neri Oxman, a designer, and professor, who is combining design, biology, computing, and material engineering to create structures using organic matter. Another such example is the replacement of building material with pig cells that are 3D printed to form structures.

Architecture- The turning tables - Sheet3
Nari Oxman and MIT programmable biocomposite for Digital Fabrication_©https://www.archdaily.com/894979/neri-oxman-and-mit-develop-programmable-biocomposites-for-digital-fabrication/5b051df0f197cc14a200031a-neri-oxman-and-mit-develop-programmable-biocomposites-for-digital-fabrication-image

Living architecture, another emerging concept is a technology that, when integrated into a building, uses resources like sunlight, wastewater, and air and generates oxygen, proteins, and biomass through manipulation of interaction. This could prove to be a massive change that could deliver a sustainable future. 

An innovation that would enable us to breathe easily is smog-eating architecture. The facade would absorb airborne pollutants and convert them into harmless salts which wash off by rain. 

The future buildings could also breathe like human skin by the use of smart thermo-bimetal that is dynamic and responsive to the environment. 

Thermal-Bimetals_ a laminated sheet metal material that can expand and contract at different temperatures ©Brandon Shigeta

All these examples prove that the buildings of the future are going to be sustainable organisms that are interactive and an integral part of the ecosystem. Architecture is not going to remain spaces that are built to protect humans from the environment, but it is going to be an entity that sustains itself and also sustains the surrounding ecosystem. 

Architecture is going to be adaptive and responsive to the environmental changes and through the help of technology be flexible in its shape, movement, and reflexiveness to counteract these changes for its survival. The buildings of tomorrow will be auto-regenerative, light, flexible, responsive and one that lives and breathes along with the rest of the system. 













The future of architecture in 100 buildings by Marc Kushner


Currently pursuing her Master's degree in Conservation, Ramiya is keen on becoming an Academician, a researcher, and a writer. She is always eager and excited to explore new ideas in the field of architecture, history, society, and culture.