In the future, Jetson and his family were living in Googie, a bubble-shaped, high-rise apartment building set on tall, thin columns, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and lots of metal beams. Jetsons was a series(1962) that showcased our fascination with bubble houses, rockets, and space travel in the future (2062). Architects made Googie a reality, but it only evokes nostalgia for Jetsons; for they haven’t become the standard for housing today.

What ‘should’ the future of Architecture be? - Sheet1
Left: Googie Bubble house;  Right: Bubble House, Australia_©Warner bros,Birchell  & Partners

Fantastic design is a niche, bracketed part of the architecture, that should never be mistaken as the future of architecture and design. Though homes would always have the basic features (Roof, doors, walls, and windows), future architecture has the power to change our way of living. It is not about the prediction of what the future will be, but about the articulation of what we want the future of architecture to be. Here are some of the articulations of how architecture should be in the future.

Decision-making, Not design-thinking

The process of design is the core of architecture. But, throughout the ages, this process is limited to representational drawings and abstract diagrams. Architecture is always processed and communicated through visual media of plans and sections. These diagrams play a role in understanding architecture but are not sufficient to practice architecture.

What ‘should’ the future of Architecture be? - Sheet2
Left: Idea sketch of Dancing House;Right: Dancing house_© United Archives GMBH, Joseph Bologna

We now have evidence that the buildings affect humans both physically and mentally. Zeisel has argued that applied psychology methods can be used to understand how people respond to different designs before a building is built (Nast, 2018). We can deliver hard data on how different built environments engender biochemical changes in our bodies and can harm human health (Nast, 2018). This suggests that future architects should still not be taught that abstract is the unique central organizing feature of practicing design. 

With the advancements in science and technology, the divorce of design and thinking is obvious in our times (Mehta, 2017). While on the other hand, something as generic as design thinking is a popularly used and debated concept today. Designers conveniently enjoy reveling in details and discussing form. We need to put human sciences and culture at the core of the thoughts that they make decisions out of them. As codes increase and the human-centered considerations flourish, architects should consider accountability and data-proven justifications for design decisions (Nast, 2018). Thus, architecture should change from design-thinking to decision-making, where the decisions are informed by science and human values.

Collaboration, Not Competition

Like many fields, architecture is increasingly influenced by the call for more collaboration among disciplines (Brownell, 2016).  In this highly interdisciplinary era, it is inevitable not to integrate different professions and disciplines into the universe of architecture. While the collaborations are bound to Engineers, Urbanists, Landscape architects, and planners; the future of architecture demands much more.  Beyond its internal considerations, architecture deals with concepts and issues gathered from other disciplines. 

For example, study on the biology of social insects has begun to examine how the architecture of nests influences the collective behavior of colonies. Research in social and cognitive sciences on humans has begun to investigate how buildings or environmental factors can alter social behavior and other psychological factors (Pinter-Wollman, N, et.al., 2018). To research other fields and to incorporate them into the architecture discipline is important in creating the built environment (Pinter-Wollman, N, et.al., 2018). Architecture is not a profession that demands the ‘Star architect’ to design buildings. It is a profession that demands collaboration with various disciplines. Only when architects start to collaborate with professionals from other disciplines will they know the potential of Architecture. And then they might begin to act as ‘Architects’.

Human Values, Not Self Values

What ‘should’ the future of Architecture be? - Sheet3
The tallest building of TelAviv- Azrieli tower_©KPF

Buildings are not objects or attractive patterns, and architecture is not such a bunch of buildings, to impose the self-interest of the architects on them. Architectural design is not always as subjective as art. It is the result of several decisions made from various disciplines relative to their users. Architects find privilege in showcasing their creative ability through their buildings. Rather, he/she should develop the tendency which would invest in man, his emotions, in a finer adaptation of space to its psychological and emotional needs.

It is ‘research (on disciplines of psychology, cognitive science, and biology) that prevents architects from designing for themselves (Rees, n.d.). An architect who can build a well-researched building is far more potent than one who builds ambitious buildings. (i.e the tallest/ the largest/ the most efficient buildings). Good design is objective because it just works (Rees, n.d.). It works because every subsequent design decision has a reason, and every styled element can be explained in relation to human values. 

What Should the Future be? 

The future of architecture seems to have two main prongs: sustainable design and the sleek, high-tech look. All the signs show that in the future, architecture will move toward an increasingly significant technical and technological sophistication with material comfort: (CRUNELLE, n.d.) architects believe that automatic heating, energy saving, house automation, equipment integrated into walls, vocal commands for lighting, “intelligent” entrance doors, etc., satisfy the future of ‘Sustainable design’ and ‘Automation technology’. Those who ask scientific and social questions on why we build and what we build are easily termed as “alternative practices”. But this tendency of finding solutions will lead to the growth of technicians, not Architects

The future of architecture should go beyond the space of problem-solving (the predicted future) to posing questions (articulated future). It is people who use the buildings at any time, and architecture cannot be just about saving energy and materials, but also human sciences, culture, and values. 

References

  1. Arslan, Y., 2014. [online] Frsb.upm.edu.my. Available at: <https://frsb.upm.edu.my/dokumen/FKRSE1_157-542-1-PB.pdf>
  2. Brownell, B., 2016. Why Architecture School Needs Interdisciplinary Training. [online] Architect. Available at: <https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/why-architecture-school-needs-interdisciplinary-training_o
  3. CRUNELLE, M., n.d. Future of Architecture. [online] Lavilledessens.net. Available at: <http://www.lavilledessens.net/textes/01/future-of-archi.pdf
  4. Freeman, S., n.d. How will the future of architecture change the way we live?. [online] HowStuffWorks. Available at: <https://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/architecture/how-will-future-of-architecture-change-way-we-live.htm>
  5. Mehta, K., 2017. Is the future of architecture political?. [online] mint. Available at: <https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/MQVksAqd6in7KeEKygLIWI/Is-the-future-of-architecture-political.html> 
  6. Rees, B., n.d. Design Process: Is It Objective or Subjective?. [online] Toptal Design Blog. Available at: <https://www.toptal.com/designers/ux/design-process-objective-or-subjective>.
  7. Pinter-Wollman, N., Penn, A., Theraulaz, G., & Fiore, S. M. (2018). Interdisciplinary approaches for uncovering the impacts of architecture on collective behavior. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences.
  8. Nast, C., 2018. Why Architecture Education Needs to Embrace Evidence-Based Design, Now. [online] Architectural Digest. Available at: <https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/architecture-education-needs-to-embrace-evidence-based-design-now>
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