Architecture holds the key to the future of living on our planet as population and sea levels rise. While we may not be conquering other planets or inventing robotic flying cars, there are a few challenges that need to be addressed by the architecture profession. Architects everywhere must respond to the push for improved design solutions in the age of Big Data and evolving cultural trends. Adapting to the change in the use of materials, developing technologies, and most importantly creating sustainable environments for the future are a few topics that need to be discussed in the communities now for the greater tomorrow. Designing how space will be used in the future has never been more important. It is a daunting task because so much is at stake. 

The architecture of the future must strike a balance between form and function, art and science, technology, and soul, with the modern shift towards performance and the business need of developing a suitable building for the client’s needs.

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Skyline of tomorrow_ ©VRayGuide

The storyline: 

A thousand years ago, seeing a building could have required a walk to a neighbouring village. Then came faster transit, with the ability to go by boat, plane, or even as a tourist. Then technology advanced to the point where it was visible in the newspaper and on television. Until now, everybody may have it on their devices, everyone is an architectural photographer, and the structure has suddenly lost its embodiment to the site. 

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Collaboration between materials _©Jewel Changi Airport Devt

Architecture is about deep emotional ties to the places we occupy, not just math and zoning. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average individual spends 90% of their time indoors, surrounded by architecture. Architecture shapes us in ways we are unaware of.

It is no longer enough to build a concrete or brick house and call it a day!

The issue of overpopulation is first and foremost an urban problem when many people dream of the same place and the space for dreaming becomes scarce. By 2050 almost 70 percent of the population will live in urban areas. Every year the global population grows by 80 million. Earlier, the concept of a city being too big wasn’t a problem. Eventually, cities got larger, had more facilities, and were capable of doing more things. Now, decades later, we realize cities do have an upper limit. 

The efficient use of limited resources becomes more critical as populations rise and resources become scarcer. The usage of materials and resources is heavily influenced by smart cities. Cities will become more interconnected as our population grows and new concepts emerge, such as big data and the Internet of Things. The combination of big data and linked technologies, as well as the growing population, will demand the development of smart cities. Vertical cities along with vertical farming is an evolving concept. 

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Parametric architecture and usability_ ©Mirsasha
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Parametric architecture and usability _©Mirsasha

Parametric design tools help architects create incredible structures. Large-scale 3D printers are now being used to help push the materiality of those buildings. New algorithms can value engineering a structure, while solving the equation for structural resilience and material use.  Construction technologies will be substantially expanded by 3D-printed construction. It suggests that robots will construct our structures because we are finally ready for the forms that they will create. Today, architects can experience a design before construction is underway. Virtual reality is a huge leap forward for projects in the conceptual stage. Architects can now examine how a design is put together as well as how engineering is used. Together, VR and 3D printed construction significantly expand the limits of architecture and construction.

We are still unknown how far architectural visualisation technology will go in the next five years, but we will undoubtedly see more computer-generated architectural representations that are so close to reality that you will not be able to tell the difference. Maybe a few years from now, architects can create models through holograms and print them in true colors and textures.

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Habitats of a better tomorrow_ ©ZahaHadidArchitects

Sustainability, carbon footprint, price, and innovations are now considerations all architects must adapt when deciding on their building materials. The philosophy behind sustainable architecture is all about reducing waste but minimising energy loss as well. Using less energy to keep us comfortable allows us to become more ecologically responsible and resource efficient, both of which are essential to minimizing the effects of climate change. Recycled materials are becoming more and more popular choices in future architecture proposals. Materials like timber, plywood, plastic, glass, earth materials etc will be used keeping sustainability and user behaviour in mind. Architects have taken up the task of building more and doing so in a more sustainable manner. 

Architects may be required to build in a more environmentally friendly manner as building regulations become more rigid in favour of sustainable materials and processes.  Future architecture businesses will have to strike that balance between a sustainable budget and sustainability. More green buildings can be anticipated in the future skylines. In the future, there will be less emphasis on the construction document drawing process and more on new solutions and how they affect and serve the users of the space. Use of BIM will become primary. 

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Technologies in structures_ ©AhmedRamzan

Truth is that buildings do more than merely reflect our community; they shape it down to the slightest details. It matters what we build. Architects know how to design greener, even smarter, and friendlier buildings. By working with architects, society can help design better spaces, better cities, and a better world because the stakes are high. And this means that the structures of tomorrow will look very different from the structures of today. And it means that buildings will twist to the whims of nature instead of the other way around.

Architects, urban planners, and engineers will not decide how and where we will live together in the future, but they may play a role in guaranteeing that this where and how will continue to exist. For the next many decades, the current generation is about to revolutionize architecture. We must begin thinking about tomorrow today and act now. Move forward and find suitable solutions to our society’s concerns. 



  1. TED – Why the buildings of the future will be shaped by … you by Marc Kushner [YouTube video]

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  1. TMD studio [Online] Emerging trends that will shape the future of Architecture.

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  1. Think architecture [Online] 5 Trends that could shape the future of Architecture

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  1. Brenna Lonergan [Online] The Future of Architecture.

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A recent architecture grad student who believes design and research play a creative role in shaping society while providing advanced solutions. Her curiosity has drawn her passion into understanding the psychology of architecture with human behaviour and art. She relishes reading, discovering, and craves to learn more each day.

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