Architecture has been in practice since the dawn of time. All the species on earth have been conforming themselves to a haven, either deliberately or latently. One can only speculate the future of architecture after having studied its rich history, spanning centuries, and the dynamic and exciting present. It began with cave dwellings and simple make-do shelters before the virtues of construction were found, making way for a more permanent fix and a phenomenon that would go on for eternity.
Architecture Through the Ages
As evolution was in progress, people started to bid adieu to nomadic life, wanting to relax and find solace in permanent houses. Civilizations came into the picture, made-do shelters became thoughtful dwelling places, which slowly turned into statistically planned built forms for all the needs and wants of the society and the practice of architecture came into being.
Many civilisations marked their prominence in the field of architecture by showcasing their heritage, culture, beliefs, ecology and way of life, the testaments of which are spread all across the globe. From the ancient Egyptian to Mesopotamian to the great Indus Valley civilisation, architecture acted as a mirror to society.
The architectural progress of the ancient world laid the foundation for the future of architecture thereafter, followed by a series of architectural revolutions. New building typologies came into the picture and magnificent innovations were seen. From the masterful Greek and Roman buildings to the bright and skillfully crafted pagodas of China and Japan, the incredible fractal Indian temples to the heavenly cathedrals of Europe, the poetic Islamic mausoleums and mahals to the bright and peaceful Tibetan monasteries, all exude a whiff of individuality and manifest the personality of the region.
Besides the noteworthy buildings, the traditional/ vernacular architecture of a settlement is what gives it character. Each vernacular house is distinct from the other in terms of elements/ size but similar in disposition, fitting seamlessly in the whole. This creates both individual and collective identity for the people of the region.
The Present Day
The Industrial Revolution turned a new leaf for the future of architecture. With new materials and building techniques being invented daily, rapid urbanisation and the emergence of the middle class, a whole new realm of prospects, possibilities and problems surfaced. Mass production fanned out into building construction, standardising everything, from a chair to even a villa!
While a larger section of the population seems to be satisfied with identical 2-3 BHK apartments, the people who can afford to stand out are approaching designers for the best of spaces, bringing an era of ‘Star Architects’. Buildings all over the world look more or less the same with a few exceptions. The popular ones are recognised for their designer and not for their place or people.
The present-day construction practices have also wreaked havoc on the natural environment. Depleting resources, hazardous production processes, deforestation and pollution are a few of the many effects of the harmful operations of the industry, making us wonder if the future of architecture is bright.
Agreed that it would take a long time to restore the balance of nature, but on the bright side, the world as a whole is slowly but surely realising the dire need for sustainable development and actively working towards it. Growing technology and material sciences are aiding in making innovations never seen before, which could become a regular thing in the future.
The Architecture of Tomorrow
Speculation of the future cannot happen without scrutinising the past. As the saying goes, history tends to repeat itself. While some designers go back and take lessons from the past to find better solutions for the future, some work hard at creating completely new systems for the new age.
The present-day one-size-fits-all practice has been receiving a lot of dismay from the people, not only in the field of architecture but other design fields, like fashion and automobiles. The new generation thrives on building character, individuality and uniqueness. These relatively woke individuals will make the profession of architecture more transparent with the masses, encouraging more and more interdisciplinary collaborations for a way of combined growth.
The future of architecture will focus more on building a sustainable habitat for all life on earth by combining lessons from the past and the latest resources at hand. There is no need to resort to ‘same architecture’ for all because people are unique and so should be the spaces they inhabit.
It is plausible to say that the architecture of tomorrow will go back to picking up the originality found in vernacular architecture, where each unit looked effortlessly a part of the whole, instead, having a sci-fi kinda look because the lessons from the past and imagination of today will drive creation for tomorrow. Sticking to the roots and spreading branches far and wide is what the future of architecture looks like.