What is the future of architecture? Are our present practices deserving and capable of standing as a test of time? With changing times, will we go back to our roots or continue to soar higher?

Several questions of this sort continue overwhelming and hounding the minds of architects, researchers, and even the center of all architecture: ‘The Users’; and the answer to it all, though currently uncertain, will be answered in times to come.

What is the future of Architecture? - Sheet1
Future of architecture_©studio ASYNCHROME.

The Inevitable Predicament

The world is changing at an alarming pace and so are the conditions of our survival. Today we are experiencing and fighting crises that were not even heard of in the recent past and see numerous signs that our environment has suffered changes. We are plagued by evils like pollution, depletion of the ozone layer that absorbs UV rays, climate change that has resulted due to the trapped carbon dioxide causing the greenhouse effect. Snowcaps are melting and there is an increase in the water levels. Overpopulation, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and shrinking of ecosystems, droughts, floods, famines, covid pandemic all leading to disruption of life and the global economy.

Our negligence and selfishness have resulted in humankind cursing all of the living beings and casting a shadow on an otherwise bright future. With pollution, global warming, and overpopulation threatening all life forms an awareness of our actions and conscious rethinking of our practices to curtail any further destruction is the need of the hour.

In today’s age where we are not only up against certain environmental crises but also advanced technology, rapidly changing lifestyles, increasing demands, urban sprawl, and shifting cultural trends Architects need to realize their responsibility and find a course that will lead to an environmentally friendly future that lasts generations.

Users- the Center of it all

Through all our years of architectural evolution, we have come across examples of architecture that are empty, conceited, and agonizing. Architecture that fails to be a value-adding process rather diminishes the existing value of a place and its people. Architecture that lacks social character and fails its users. However, an understanding and acceptance of this serves as a learning for the future. Any Architecture be it from the past, present, or future that revolves around the betterment of the users is Architecture that has fulfilled its purpose and stands as an ideal for generations to learn from. While on the other hand, architecture that stands on the foundation of baseless selfish ideals and individual beliefs is not only a waste of resources, time, and effort but is an additional burden on the public or users. The future we lead our architecture towards needs to be an assemblage of past learnings, present observations, and future visions that serve as a boon to the people rather than a bane.

What is the future of Architecture? - Sheet2
People and architecture_©Williams, 2021.

Architecture of Coexistence

In recent years there have been countless arguments about the various types and ideologies of architectural processes practiced and a constant battle to win the banner of ‘Architecture of the future’. With emerging practices like Water architecture, green buildings, modular architecture, tiny houses, high-rise and skyscrapers, sustainable architecture, earth architecture, vernacular architecture, and many more, a ‘one size fits all concept is neither feasible nor encouraged, and a ‘one practice wins all’ theory futile. 

The rampant increase in population and demand and the awareness of the environmental impacts will dictate the framework and parameters for the future of architecture. Though we notice new trends coming up every day, any practice that is sustainable in the long run, stays true to its site, surroundings, and people, and decreases the environmental impact of construction shall rise. At times like these a linear model of construction where the process begins with the production of material, the building of desired space, followed habitation or using period and lastly the demolition or discarding is wasteful and not sustainable. We need to employ the principles of the circular economy by reusing what is considered waste, bringing in recycled products, repurposing elements, and achieving efficiency in terms of resources in all phases of construction.

What is the future of Architecture? - Sheet3
Future of cities_©Vincent Callebaut, Éditions Michel Lafon

Amidst these emerging trends, technological advancements, and innovative materials I believe the future of architecture is sustainable and based on Co-existence rather than the dominance of a singular entity, practice, species, or ideology. The architecture of the future is environmentally conscious, humanitarian, and public-oriented. To determine or predict the face of the future architecture would not just be limiting its great potential but also disregarding the diverse global values resulting in purposeless destructive cloning of a typology or idea and hence the co-existence of conscious, user-based architecture is the key. 

All things considered, I hope that the future architecture isn’t wasteful and futile, rather an accountable, resilient, environmentally friendly architecture capable of adapting to the rapid changes, and averting any crises before they wreak havoc. An architecture that soars higher in its values and environmental impact and yet stays true to its roots. I hope the architecture carries humanity and brings us- humans closer as a community.

References:

  1. Image 1-Asynchrome.com. 2021. studio ASYNCHROME. [online] Available at: <http://www.asynchrome.com/> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
  2. Image 2-Williams, S., 2021. Seamless Double Exposures of Milan’s Architecture and People. [online] Fstoppers. Available at: <https://fstoppers.com/portraits/seamless-double-exposures-milans-architecture-and-people-8281> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
  3. Image 3-Le Fictionaute. 2021. Paris 2050, Vincent Callebaut, Éditions Michel Lafon – LeFictionaute. [online] Available at: <https://lefictionaute.com/paris-2050-vincent-callebaut-editions-michel-lafon/#iLightbox[gallery_image_1]/4> [Accessed 27 May 2021].
Author

A dreamer and storyteller is what she is! Other than that, Sushriya recently completed her B.Arch from Gogte Institute of Technology and currently works as a Junior Architect. She believes, in the end everything and everyone become stories; And stories are what she searches for and tries to create in architecture as well.

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