Architecture as a discipline has constantly changed and evolved over the years. The urgent need to cope with climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, the advent of technology, and diminishing livable space and other resources are only some of the contributing factors. These trends, advancements, and changes have and will continue to play a pivotal role in determining the future of architecture and design industry. They shall pave the way for a future in which energy efficiency, use of new technologies, overall impact of architecture, and growing needs of the people will be at the forefront of architecture and design. 

The Future of Architecture: Trends and Design Approaches - Sheet1
Design Approaches-Urban Tree ©MAD Architects and Elenberg Fraser

While the future may not be straight out of a sci-fi movie just yet, here are 6 design approaches that give us a glimpse into what the future of architecture might potentially look like.

Sustainable and Eco-friendly Architecture | Design Approaches

The human dependency on limited resources is increasing with each passing day. With that, the effects of climate change are also becoming more prominent. The architecture of the future will need to address the needs of the growing community and Sustainable Architecture might just be the way forward. Smart, Eco-friendly, and Sustainable cities shall, therefore, dictate the future of architecture. The practice of sustainability will help in improving the overall health of the ecosystem rather than degrading it. Low consumption of energy during all building processes, generation of lesser waste, usage of Sustainable Materials, and dependence on Renewable sources of Energy will foster construction that does not harm the environment or at least has a lesser impact. 

Energy Efficient buildings, use of Sustainable Technologies, and economical use of resources will lay the groundwork for an ‘environmentally positive’ future of architecture. 

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Green Spine ©UNStudio and Cox Architecture

Adaptive Reuse and Retrofitting 

During the tough times of Covid-19, we noticed numerous buildings, such as Convention Centers and Stadiums, across the world being used as and/or converted into emergency medical facilities. However, this idea of Adaptive reuse may not stay limited to these unprecedented times, but rather continue to influence the future of architecture. The practice involves reusing or repurposing an existing building for a different purpose than originally intended. It optimizes the use of existing structures with newer objectives and is economical, consumes fewer resources than new construction, and reduces the environmental impact. Adaptive Reuse shall be utilized to meet the growing need and demand for social infrastructure in the future. 

Another trend that might allow for a similar vision for the future of architecture is the practice of Retrofitting. Retrofitting Architecture involves recycling and reusing the existing spaces by adding new features to old structures. It can strengthen the structure, improve the building’s functionality and remove any damage that may be caused to it. It is efficient, reduces overall building waste, and is far better for the environment instead of constructing new spaces from the ground up. All and all, putting old, existing buildings to use shall be seen more and more in the future. 

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Design Approaches-Tammany Hall Restoration ©BKSK Architects

Rapid Construction 

Even though rapid construction has built a little momentum, the inability of the architecture industry to design and build spaces at a rapid speed has emerged as a major flaw over the years. It is still widely prominent in emergency situations. Consequently, the future of architecture shall see the growth of BIM construction and Modular construction. 

BIM stands for Building Information Model which involves creating and managing information regarding a project across the entire project life cycle. The detailed system allows for easy fabrication, reduced costs, less construction time, and better quality with little to no room for error. Modular Architecture is another fast and effective way that allows for rapid construction. This approach is economical and saves both time and resources. It also generates less waste and allows for more accurate construction with minimal site disturbance. Both these approaches are gaining ground in the architecture and design industry and shall continue to do so in the future. 

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Rapid Construction and Modular Architecture ©Jesus Granada

Wellness Promotion through Architecture 

The architecture around us can affect our lives in numerous ways. It can affect our thinking, our cognitive abilities, our mental and physical well-being, and our emotions. We experience and observe this impact almost every moment of the day. This shall be a major factor to push wellness promotion at the forefront of the architecture and design industry continuing forward. With increasing mental health issues and after-effects of a pandemic, Health Conscious Architecture shall be highly sought after in the future of architecture.

We might witness an emergence of new forms of public spaces with good daylight, a healthy environment along with open, green spaces that often prove helpful in healing processes. Even in indoor spaces, the future design shall strive to promote productivity, comfort, and happiness. In the wake of the Covid-19 Pandemic, proper ventilation and good air quality will lead every future architecture and design project as well. 

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Design Approaches-ReGen Villages ©Effekt Architects

Self-Sufficient Neighborhoods | Design Approaches 

One trend that has characterized the response to Covid-19 and is set to flourish post-pandemic, is the emergence of Self-sufficient neighborhoods. To be planned on a city level, these neighborhoods shall have all the required resources and infrastructure available and accessible to the people. Spread across a seemingly small radius, these neighborhoods will prevent people from venturing far and also help to decongest existing markets. The aim is to make our future towns and cities more resilient and usher in a new, better quality of living.

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ReGen Villages ©Effekt Architects

Vertical Development | Design Approaches

Due to the rapid growth of the world’s population, a finite resource available to us, i.e. Land is becoming scarce day by day. Not only that, our livable spaces are shrinking and declining due to several environmental changes and destruction. The future of architectural practice needs to focus on finding a solution to accommodate more people. Architects and designers need to become more ‘space savvy’ to overcome and cope with this problem. 

Even though skyscrapers are already pretty common today, Vertical cities will materialize as the future of architecture. Vertical cities are designed by connecting various multi-tier buildings and skyscrapers through vertical transportation. These allow for increased density of people at any given area and the presence of more infrastructure such as businesses, living spaces, activity areas, at one spot for the entire community. 

Vertical development also allows people to practice extensive vertical farming. This opens up the opportunity for nourishing nature and saving land resources. It will help tackle air pollution while also being better for the building itself. This will also result in an expanded green area in upcoming cities, thereby, leading to a sustainable approach for our future. 

Design Approaches-The Lanescraper ©Bjarke Ingels Group and Fender Katsalidis Architects


TMD Studio LTD (2017). Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Architecture. [online]. (Last updated 05 Jan 2017). Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2021].

Think Architecture (2019). 5 Trends That Could Shape the Future of Architecture. [online]. (Last updated 30 May 2019). Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2021].

Nathan Bahadursingh (2020). 8 Ways COVID-19 Will Change Architecture. [online]. Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2021].


An avid learner and reading enthusiast, Urja Jindal is a practicing Junior Architect who is currently exploring her interest in Architectural Journalism. She believes that people are the best audiences to the buildings around them and sees architecture as a medium that has the most power to change their environment.