The evolution of Architecture identifies Architectural trends, as a solution that emerges in response to a problem, during a specific period, in a particular context. For instance, Modernism as an architectural style emerged as a response to the World Wars, with functionalism as its key idea, to address the needs of people. Architecture is a witness and victim of the ever-changing needs and thoughts of human life. Thus, the Architectural trends of the future are inseparable from the technological developments, priorities of mankind, and problems that threaten their survival. 

The Architectural Trends of the Future

As discussed above architecture is subjected to constant evolution and hence architectural trends emerge and dissolve relatively quicker. After Modernism, there was never a dominant force in the field of Architecture. In 2000, when Charles Jencks attempted to identify the dominant architectural styles through his evolution tree diagram, he concluded that “At any one time, the twentieth-century architect has had to face three or four competing movements of architecture, respond to changes in technology, social forces, style and ideology–not to mention world wars and such large impersonal forces as the Internet”. A similar observation was made in 2016 also when Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal mapped architectural practices in a circular diagram with seven different types of architects. They realized that architects didn’t identify themselves as one type of architect, but shifted from project to project as per necessity. Following a similar pattern just like architects, today, Architectural trends themselves don’t just address one priority, but serve as a solution for multiple problems. 

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Evolution tree_©architectural-review.com
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Circle diagram by Zaera-Polo and Guillermo Fernandez-Abascal_© archdaily.com

Priorities determining Architectural Trends of the future

What lies in the womb of time for architecture is loosely predictable by understanding the current issues and problems faced by humans. There is no doubt that sustainability and developments in technology are the most discussed elements, today, in determining the architectural trends of the future. However, there is another inevitable element; the welfare of the people. As the primary purpose of architecture is “the identification of place” for a particular activity by people, the design of the space should be such that it motivates the people to pursue the activity rather than distract them from performing the same. By paying attention to the activity while designing, the people who are users become participants in designing rather than, merely being users who complain about space being a misfit for the activity which they want to perform. Hence, people who are users, technology, and sustainability are the priorities to be considered while determining the architectural trends of the future. Following are some of the architectural trends of the future:

Adaptive and Flexible Spaces

The Pandemic has played an important role in altering the idea of dwelling units as just places to stay and sleep. Once again, the home was rediscovered as a place where habitants live, work, spend leisure time, eat, cook, and sleep. Modular construction methods and advanced materials will facilitate this adaptability, allowing buildings to respond to evolving requirements and enable more efficient use of space. Innovative furniture and fittings also add to the flexibility and efficiency of the use of space. This architectural trend of the future is expected to give the users maximum authority and make them feel involved in the space they use.

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Flexibility – Movable walls in a holiday apartment in Spain_©contemporist.com

Inclusive design

With ‘equality’ being the norm in all fields across the globe, today, it is necessary for architecture to incorporate this open-minded thought of the new generation in the architectural trends of the future. The inclusive architecture ensures that the space designed is usable for all populations irrespective of their physical ability, age, gender, etc. Elevators, low-gradient ramps, tactile floor indicators, hearing loops, and braille signs could be used throughout the space to cater to everyone’s needs and let everyone experience the space.

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Inclusive design_©enablingvillage.sg

Choosing Retrofit over New Construction

Foreseen global population upsurge and urbanization will be of key concern to architects, especially with limited land to build on. On the contrary, numerous buildings will become dilapidated over time, and become unfit for use. Choosing retrofitting, renovation, and repurposing of existing buildings is more advisable than constructing new buildings in a humble effort to cut down carbon-dioxide emissions as emissions associated with the manufacturing of concrete account for up to 7% of global carbon dioxide. 

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Repurposing industrial rail line as public walkway_© architecturalrecord.com

Designing for Resilience

Designing for resilience is becoming an important architectural trend due to climate change, environmental issues, and natural disasters. Designing for resilience means creating structures that can withstand extreme weather conditions and potential natural disasters. Countries like Italy face earthquakes, while other countries like the UAE are threatened by rising sea levels. Therefore, designing for resilience should be a key factor when designing buildings in countries that are prone to such disasters or extreme weather conditions. 

Vertical building

As the population is expected to grow while space doesn’t, a dearth of land is quite obvious. Vertical cities are an innovative solution that is inevitable from the architectural trends of the future. Vertical buildings need not be only residential or commercial, they can accommodate a variety of functions to essentially build a vertical neighborhood community. For Instance, Singapore’s vertical Skyville provides communal terrace gardens and sky bridges in addition to apartments which aids in community building. Vertical farming and vertical graveyards are also on the rise due to fear of a dearth of land and technological developments that make it possible.

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Terrace gardens of Skyville_©Patrick Bingham

Immersive technology

Architecture involves shaping how people experience space. What if architecture can be experienced even before it’s built? Yes, Virtual reality technology has made it possible. Virtual reality technology now allows for pre-built experiences. 3D printing can realize seemingly impossible structures. Algorithms evaluate structural resilience and material use. These technologies enhance design and user participation. Immersive technology is a future architectural trend that pushes the limits of construction beyond imaginable. 

Virtual Reality_©archdaily.com

Why Explore Architectural Trends of the Future?

Will architecture still exist in 2050? Will architects get replaced by AI? Will future generations have access to as many natural resources as the current generation has? Will architects equip spaces for people to face another pandemic? It is vaguely the uncertainty associated with the future that triggers this investigation. However, exploring architectural trends of the future and the priorities that shape these trends takes care that access to natural resources is not scraped off from future generations and ensures that people do not get too enthralled with technological developments, forgetting the welfare of human beings. Future architectural trends explored in this article seem to make the world a better place to live in, exploring and experimenting with new knowledge without any guilt of robbing.

Reference list
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  2. Budds, D. (2016) Beyond “contemporary”: A Map of today’s architectural movements. Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3066689/beyond-contemporary-a-map-of-todays-architectural-movements (Accessed: 18 August 2023). 
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  5. Think Architecture (2022) 5 trends shaping the future of Architecture, Think Architecture. Available at: https://www.thinkaec.com/5-trends-that-could-shape-the-future-of-architecture/ (Accessed: 17 August 2023). 
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  7. Vieira, R. (2023) The future of architecture is human-centered, RTF | Rethinking The Future. Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/narratives/a6547-the-future-of-architecture-is-human-centered/ (Accessed: 17 August 2023). 
Author

Valliammai Tirupathi is a budding architect. She has an immense passion for research and writing, mainly in Architectural Theory and the History of Architecture. She believes that Architectural Journalism can bring about a change in the profession. She loves to analyze and break down heavy information and complex ideas into simple sentences.