With the beginning of the 21st century, the emergence of new technologies has been quite frequent. In fact, the rapid advancement is multiple times as compared to the previous centuries. Architecture like other professions is no exception in this context. Technologies like computers and some other software came along with the millennium while some are highly anticipated in the coming years. 

So, is it appropriate to say that technology is the future of architecture?

Looks too simple, isn’t it? Climate Crisis is the biggest aftertaste of human aspirations and a massive challenge for posterity. Turning a blind eye can soon turn these innovations into misfortunes of the century.

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future of architecture_©https://www.zaha-hadid.com

However, there is an active but limited search going on to combat the crisis with technology. One of the most common solutions to the situation presented by the architects is practising Sustainable Architecture. Although the concept of sustainability remains obscure even after three decades, there is much work done by some architects and only a little has been noticed on the forefront. Sustainability as a phenomenon is traditional and has a history equivalent to mankind, but even if we as a world were to adopt it, it would be impossible to reverse the centuries worth of innovations. Sustainability, however, combined with technology can work wonders against climate emergencies.

There is wisdom in using technology to nature’s benefit along with mankind’s. Nevertheless, these are not just speculations, there is much evidence in them. 

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Sustainable development_©3 Emerging Trends in Sustainable Architecture and Construction

Sustainable Technology

The concept of sustainability is defined as the efficient use of resources and environment-friendly materials and processes to ensure zero harm to the environment. In modern terms, it is also defined as reducing the energy demands of a building thereby lowering its carbon footprint. Relying on clean energy sources for building mechanisms is the absolute necessity of the present and future. Technologies when fused with sustainability while ensuring the balance between economic, social and ecological factors can be proven beneficial. Self–powered sensors that use energy from the environment are much more sustainable than traditional wired ones. Other similar challenges won by sustainable technologies include Plastic Recycling and Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS).

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Sustainable development_©Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2020

A city with its confines encircled with heaps of non-biodegradable plastic is the 21st-century truth. Plastic will remain on the face of the earth even after millions of years and this reality hasn’t yet affected us. Since, as humans, we are only concerned about our immediate surroundings. Plastic, however, is a problem that needs to be catered to instantly as only 16% of the millions of plastic generated every year is recycled. There is unused sustainable potential in recycling plastics and a lot of emerging technologies to support a model that can very efficiently minimize the efforts.

Another probable sustainable challenge lies in carbon capture. It is one of the emerging technologies which involves capturing and storing carbon instead of reducing the footprint of a particular product while manufacturing it. This technology can result in a significant decrease in greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions. Imagine the whole conception of reducing the carbon footprint at construction can become effortless by using materials with captured carbon! A lot of sustainable practices are not popular since conventional practices are much more convenient to use. They are much more in the regular trends even if they are not ecological.

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Sustainable development_©Maisprüfergebnisse In Agroforestry Mit Moderner Technikkonzepte Stock-Foto

A lot of modern world problems are dependent on the non-renewable nature of fossil fuels. What If there is a more efficient alternative? The use of hydrogen as a clean fuel is being contemplated all over the world by scientists. The use of hydrogen as an energy source is much more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Hydrogen led fuel cells are much more efficient and light in weight. Therefore, in situations where Solar Power has limitations Hydrogen led fuel cells can prove to be a useful alternative.

To ensure efficiency in sustainable construction practices, BIM is essential. BIM, short for Building Information Modelling, has become a key component in sustainable technology. Using BIM software can boost construction projects in conserving a massive environmental footprint. BIM helps in optimising construction technology, design schemes, construction planning and also helps in easy scheduling of construction progress at the site.

Resulting in the sustainable development of the project, efficient construction planning and management helps in minimizing material wastage and ensures timely construction at the site. Moreover, the optimization of building design according to sustainability indicators results in an effective reduction in carbon footprint.

References

  • Architizer, n.d. https://architizer.com/blog/inspiration/industry/emerging-trends-sustainable-architecture-construction/. [Online].
  • Rogers, M., 2019. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/sustainability-blog/these-9-technological-innovations-will-shape-the-sustainability-agenda-in-2019#. [Online].
  • Schneider, A., 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/01/12/green-technologies-for-a-sustainable-future/?sh=100a4fc06c23. [Online].
Author

Kanika Trivedi is an architect and a writer who believes in Design Activism. Architectural writing can be a strong means to spread awareness about the underlying issues in architecture fraternity. She also believes that a space is nothing without its context and so there is a lot to learn while you incessantly explore new circumstances and their interpretations.

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