The current population explosion and aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the world’s energy crisis and need for sustainability has left the designers, architects and planners of the world at a crossroads. Designing buildings, public spaces and consequently, a built environment using the technologies of today to withstand the uncertainties of tomorrow has become the need of the hour. 

Amongst all the talk about the possible colonization of other planets and space centres, the future of architecture here on earth will tackle issues like climate change, sustainability, health and energy efficiency. The future of architecture will be shaped by various trends emerging nowadays.

Sustainable Cities

The cities of the future would prioritise sustainable modes of transport like walking and cycling which are not only good for the environment but also for the physical and mental well being of the residents. 

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Eco City_©Vincent Callebaut

The concept of “15-minute cities” has become very popular recently. This concept defines a city and neighbourhoods in the city planned in such a way that every resident has all necessary amenities and services within a 15-minute bicycle ride or walk. 

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15-Minute City_©Carlos Moreno

Most of the urban planners and designers have started designing human-centric built environments. The cities of the future will have humans as their focus above vehicles and industries. 

Buildings as Vertical Cities

With the population rising rapidly and the available livable land becoming scarce, professionals worldwide are faced with the question – How are cities going to accommodate more millions of people in the existing built spaces? The problems of overpopulation, overcrowding and the development of huge informal settlements might have their solutions in “Vertical Cities”. These vertical cities are nothing but huge skyscrapers which contain within themselves entire human habitats. This means that one could live, work, shop and carry out all daily activities in one building, 

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Vertical Cities_©UNStudio / COX Architecture

As the population rises rapidly, so does the need for land. The projected population growth might just overpower the available land. Vertical Cities would help accommodate large populations without compromising land used for farming and other essential purposes. In addition to this, vertical cities also open up the vast possibilities of vertical gardens and urban farming, while preserving natural resources and vegetation. This sky-high construction will enhance the available living spaces, reducing the strain of overpopulation to great extents.

Energy Efficient

Buildings consume large quantities of energy for heating, air conditioning, ventilation, electrical appliances like refrigerators that are constantly in use, and lighting. Buildings in the future will be mostly self-sustainable in terms of energy production and usage. Energy production will be decentralized to buildings. Technologies like solar power, wind energy, high-performance facades and photovoltaic panels, to name a few, coupled with smart technology will help create a self-sufficient and highly efficient ‘power plant’.

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High-Performance Facade_©www.inhabit.com

Immersive Technology and Virtual Reality

The process of designing will be kicked up a notch by the use of VR (Virtual Reality). Architects will be able to create life-like prototypes of their designs using immersive technologies. This would help identify structural and technical issues before the implementation stages, saving money, energy and time. It would also help experience their designs in person instead of just 2D graphics. 

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©daniiivolkov

Parametric Architecture

Parametric design is a generative design system, where adjusting the parameters will compute to create different types of outputs, and create forms and structures that would not have otherwise been possible.” (TMD STUDIO LTD, 2017)

This type of design is possible either by coding or by the use of Grasshopper, a software extension for Rhino. This technology is used to create complex shapes and forms which are then translated into buildings and other parametric structures. This technology creates designs on a level that are perhaps impossible to achieve by the human mind. This trend in architecture takes it one step closer to becoming a programming language. Buildings in the future will be complex outcomes of computers and human imagination.

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Parametric Design_©www.kadvacorp.com
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre by Zaha Hadid is an example of parametric architecture in today’s time_©Husein Ali Husein

All these trends point towards the existence of a technologically driven and human-centric future of architecture. Architects and designers will contribute to creating a better quality of life and play an active role in solving the world’s energy and climate crisis.

References:

Free Documentary (2021). Flexible Buildings: The Future of Architecture | Free Documentary. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sw9zpH717ts [Accessed 4 Jan. 2022].

O’Neill, M. (2018). The Design of Cities in the Year 2039. [online] Architectural Digest. Available at: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/future-of-design-cities [Accessed 9 Jan. 2022].

Pedersen, M.C. (2021). An Optimist’s Take on AI and the Future of Architecture. [online] Common Edge. Available at: https://commonedge.org/an-optimists-take-on-ai-and-the-future-of-architecture/?utm_medium=website&utm_source=archdaily.com [Accessed 4 Jan. 2022].

Smartcitiesdive.com. (2017). Vertical City Concept : How to Live a Sustainable Life | Smart Cities Dive. [online] Available at: https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/vertical-city-concept-how-live-sustainable-life/1163942/ [Accessed 10 Jan. 2022].

Think Architecture (2019). 5 Trends That Could Shape the Future of Architecture. [online] Think Architecture. Available at: https://www.thinkaec.com/5-trends-that-could-shape-the-future-of-architecture/.

TMD STUDIO LTD (2017). Emerging Trends That Will Shape the Future of Architecture. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/studiotmd/emerging-trends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-architecture-356ba3e7f910 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2022].

Author

Anandita is an Urban Design student at CEPT University. An amateur with a mobile-camera and a notes app, she loves exploring whatever city she gets to visit. Her keen interest in architecture, the built environment and a love for all things words has led her to delve into architectural journalism.

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