The AEC industry, on the whole, has gone through a rapid, breathtaking transformation in the past couple of decades. The intervention of technology has changed almost every field. It intrigues anyone to know about the future in general. Trying to figure out where the world is heading and knowing about them keeps one engaged even if it is uncertain. Changes occurring now are lucid; this leads to questions of, what will the future be like for architecture or architecture as a profession? It leaves with a sense of bewilderment. Change has been inevitable throughout the history of evolution, and it’s sure to be in the forthcoming years. As much as change is inevitable for evolution, adaptability is inevitable for survival.

Plausible Future-Sheet1
futuristic architecture_©imgur.com

Perceptible Changes 

To understand the far-off future, it is necessary to know the current trends that exist, which the fraternity considers as a leap made by the intervention of tech in the field, which in turn has paved the way for a lot of new considerate design language. The most heard terms of the millennia; Parametric Design, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Building Information Modelling (BIM), Fabrication, 3D printing, Smart cities, Robotic. These are drastically shifting and redefining architecture. The intercrossing of these with architecture has given life to buildings and spaces which once seemed impossible to create and termed to be existable in once imagination alone.  

Plausible Future-Sheet2
architects working on a project using VR_©AECOM

Fountainhead of Change

Overcrowding of cities is considered both the boon and bane of the future. Several reasons for people to flood into cities include better infrastructure, health, education, in short, to be ensconced. The UN has estimated that the world urban population growth would be around 2.6 billion by 2050. Now since the projections are made, architects could work together with people from varied disciplines to bring solutions to the existing issues and think about the new possible problems that could arrive as the population increases, and start figuring out ways to accommodate and create a better living environment for the lot. 

This change is inevitable, and the world has already begun finding ways like introducing concepts of the vertical city, smart city, shared spaces, mixed-use structures. All these concepts ask one thing in common; rethink the essence, value, meaning, and needs of spaces. The other concepts might seem vague to people as not everyone has seen or experienced them. But the emergence of shared spaces is incorporated into the immediate social cluster in the name of co-working spaces, R&D labs, co-living. They can be considered the current trends of spaces with immediate impact. These changes are making the space requirements minimal. 

 

Plausible Future-Sheet3
poplulation graph_©our world in data .org

Lucrative Technology

Technology has become the master of this era. It has redefined many professions. It has shifted from people working without technology or with lesser technology to investing a huge sum in technology. Techs are becoming more reliable to men than a fellow human beings because of the added advantage that the tech provides, like, the work to be done is a lot faster and flawless. Tech has taken control of almost every aspect of one’s life. To the least, everyone holds a smartphone. This pandemic has shown a way to see the workspaces from a different angle, MNC’s have made work from home possible.

Top companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc., were hiring people through online interviews during this COVID pandemic. It has opened channels for people to work remotely, which seemed impossible in the past (maybe not all but a good some). People have become adaptable to change. Quarantine and lockdowns would have been a nightmare without technology. If architecture is about designing spaces, and to see the meaning and functions of certain spaces are getting redefined, the architecture, on the whole, is supposed to be redefined. VR/AR is seen as a better fit if remote working is to be the future; certainly, it cannot be in a wholesome shift but definitely on a higher level than the prevailing situation. Many companies have started to work towards it.

Plausible Future-Sheet4
online recruiting_©shutterstock

Sustainability Redefined

Sustainability won’t be a luxury or want; rather, it would become a need and must. Its traces have already commenced not only as people are enthralled by it but the nature demanding it. With climate change happening, the earth has no more ability to provide resources to this huge amount of population; humans have exploited and have scratched up all the available resources. Humans have been harming the ecosystem without knowing what it might cost. They have been ignorant of all the consequences. Species all over the world are becoming extinct. Imagine a world filled with only self-engrossed humans occupying every square foot of Land available. It isn’t pleasant, right? The earth needs time to heal and recover. Rather it is being overburdened by the acts of human beings. Sustainability is one solution that would help humans be more considerate in using resources and help the earth heal itself. Space is needed for other species to co-exist with humans. Built spaces should be optimal and self-sufficient, so it doesn’t have to exploit more lands just to provide resources to the humans living in them.

Plausible Future-Sheet5
sustainable world_©mariano recalde

Surrealistic Future

As the increase in population is clear cut, providing the basic needs for any human is of prime purpose, Land being just one entity to create shelter on, people are coming up with avant-garde research on taking the shelters underground, underwater to moon and mars. Transporting people to the moon and mars is not possible, at least for a few more decades to come; even if people start occupying space there, it’s still not possible to transport 30% of the population with all the costs and stuff. So, to create spaces and the world starting to adapt to minimalistic spaces, Archigram architecture, like the walking city plug-in city, is where the future can be seen. Archigram movement is to be revisited, researched, and remodelled to better suit the future. With all the technological advancements, it’s not impossible to give form to those thoughts.

archigram architecture_©architizer.com

The future of the architecture profession is “NO ARCHITECTS” in a sense; architecture will have a shift in the role they play and the work they do. Architecture is becoming multi-disciplinary day by day. And with technology taking control of everything, it would require lesser humans to do the work. Architecture might seem more like a consultation profession in the future. It is certainly not possible for architects or the profession to function the same way as it is done now. Sustainability would become the capstone of architecture. Minimalistic spaces would be seen as one solution accepted by people to live in cities.

Technology can give life to the weirdest thoughts and ideas of an Architect that has been termed unrealistic. This era is the beginning of anything possible and everything possible. If someone wants to design an office underwater, it is all possible. VR/AR has made visiting places give a feel of reality even to the not yet built structures. In this world where people want more, it is ideal to start thinking of minimal living. But it’s something that should at least be spoken and thought about. Who might know what more cool stuff is to be invented? It’s only possible to keep guessing the future until we are there one day.                                                                                                        

Citations:

Pinterest. (n.d.). Coriolis – An inspirational RPG dump | Cyberpunk art, Futuristic city, Science fiction art. [online] Available at: https://in.pinterest.com/pin/693272936369861577/

AECOM (n.d.). Available at: https://www.metropolismag.com/architecture/disrupting-reality-how-vr-is-changing-architecture-present-future/pic/25760/.

ourworldindata.org (nourworldindata.org (n.d.). Available at: https://ourworldindata.org/future-population-growt

SHUTTER STOCK (n.d.). Available at: https://www.abpeducation.com/education-tips/top-8-tips-to-succeed-in-an-online-job-interview-1.1188109

RECALDE, M. (n.d.). Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/competitions/one-drawing-challenge-2020-finalists-part-1/.

Anon, (n.d.). Available at: https://architizer.com/blog/practice/details/utopian-architecture-part-2/

Author

Stephy is an intrigued explorer of various paradigms of Architecture, choosing writing as a catharsis to her never ending thoughts.