With technology ever advancing, it is only right that the architecture profession takes a step back and asks the questions, what are we heading towards, and what would our relevance be, will it lead to a better future or gradual extinction. To move towards the future involves practical steps or trends that are and would emerge to be taken with great strides and risk while gradual extinction would be ignoring the changes around us. But for a profession that aims to create a built environment, taking the risk towards the future seems a better option. There are five trends that are evolving and gaining momentum as the years unfold and these would be critical to the emerging future of architecture. They include:
The lone wolf type of architecture is fast disappearing, and the role of an architect is likely to change as viewed today from being solo artists to synthesized collaborators. This change will give way to specialists who will be integrated into architectural studios to work on a variety of different fields. These collaborations between firms or within firms will lead to new communication that will ease the process. The future of architecture will require new methods of communication adapted for studios, students, and clients. Due to the increasing complexity in construction, more processes will require more expert people, this is because stricter indexes to construction like sustainability, cost, and stakeholders will be an influence. This is also an underlying push for collaboration through specialization. In the future of architecture, outsourcing some aspects of work could occur. Collaboration between computational designers, sustainability consultants, BIM managers, workplace strategists, social media managers, façade or visualization specialists, and business development specialists will make the architecture community inch closer to the emerging future.
2. Blurred Lines
With many buildings being flawed for their inadequacy to integrate several functions, there has been an emergence of people-oriented spaces that incorporate both private, public and institutional amenities. To blur the lines, inclusive spaces are on the rise and will continue to be as clients, institutions, and people are clamoring for spaces that share a variety of functions from leisure, to meetings, to recreation, blurring the lines between the public and private amenities. With the majority of our life spent working, it is only right that the working environment of the future is suited to fit a variety of purposes. The future of architecture will create more areas for mindfulness and meditation.
3. Technology in Data
Technology is being driven by data from what has been to what will be, data skills like analytics, big data, data manipulation, and so on will be on the rise and the architecture community must not be left behind. This knowledge of data from BIM and AI is on the increase and it will be of necessity to be fluent with it. It will be a new competency test in the future of architecture. With these data, the efficiency of spaces designed and built will be put to the test to measure performance. According to the Susskinds, the transparency of these data will put pressure on architects to measure and attain performance targets; meaning that clients will be equipped on how to justify and approve the architects’ design for accountability and proof. Technology in the future of architecture will mean a partnership between both parties as this will help to eliminate minimal tasks for the architect to focus more on their strengths as professionals. Technology for data would include design, documentation, construction, interfacing and management, and much more.
4. Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities
Imagine an artificial world that you can observe, walk through, reach out to touch objects, and see everything around in real-time. This will be helpful for clients to fully understand the third dimensional space and how they relate to the whole design. It will reduce the construction schedule and cost. The world of 3D virtual design and engineering is an emerging field. Virtual realities are a good innovation for the schematic stage. These mixed realities consisting of virtual and augmented can be applied in the conceptual design, design review, training and simulation, immersive storytelling, and remote system control and analysis.
Sustainable architecture is continually evolving as more clients, stakeholders and organizations will opt for green buildings. Sustainability is simply seeking to minimize the negative impact of buildings on the environment. It involves applying innovative solutions that will be energy and water saving, using sustainable materials, and sustainable processes to eliminate as much waste as possible, and improve the well-being of the users, increase productivity, comfort, and quality of life. It would also mean, minimizing energy loss by using less supply of it to keep the energy on for an extended period. Sustainability for the future of architecture will mean not only how space is designed but the way it will be built, operated, and function.
As a final thought, one of the ways to know that the future of architecture is emerging, is to check how satisfied we are with our buildings- Do they check all the boxes? What is technology saying about our processes and methods? If the answer is not conclusive then we are heading towards the future which is already here. Discontent in architecture will lead to the breakout of new ideas and forms. The indicators are ever-growing and the future of architecture is now.
- Bill Kloster (23 April 2018).Past to present: How technology changed the architecture industry. www.sehinc.com/news/how-technology-changed-the-architecture-industry [Accessed: 28 October 2021]
- Daniel, Davis (13th November 2019). What the “the future of the professions” reveals about the future of architecture. www.danieldavis.com/future-of-the-professionals [Accessed: 28 October 2021]
- TMD Studio (5, JAN 2017) Emerging trends that will shape the future of architecture. https://medium.com/studiotmd/emerging-trends-that-will-shape-the-future-of-architecture-356ba3e7f910 [Accessed: 28 October 2021]